EMU - Voronko's Winning Finish Leads Eagles in Runner-up Showing at MAC Championship

EMU - Voronko's Winning Finish Leads Eagles in Runner-up Showing at MAC Championship

Provided by EMU

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (EMUEagles.com)—Eastern Michigan University's women's cross country team had an exceptional turnout at the 2014 Mid-American Conference Championship, Nov. 1, taking second with 69 points. In addition to the best conference finish that the Eagles have had since the 1991 season, senior harrier Victoria Voronko (Stavropol, Russia-School #42) claimed the overall MAC champion title.

Voronko paced the entire field in 20:21, and edged out Western Michigan freshman Maria McDaniel by five seconds to take the first MAC cross country title of her career. With the victory, Voronko earned First Team All-MAC honors, becoming just the second Eagle to accomplish the feat after Carrie Gould picked up conference honors between 1996-2000. "I'm really proud of Victoria's win," commented Head Coach Sue Parks. "We knew that she would likely have to lead a good portion of the race in order to secure the win, and that isn't an easy way to race. She did a great job handling the pressure of being the favority. She has really helped elevate our team with her strong work ethic and toughness."

Not far behind Voronko as the third finisher was Sofie Gallein (Gits, Belgium-University of Leuven). The Belgian native has shown steady improvement in her times throughout the season, and was able to stay not far behind Voronko with a 20:28 finish. Gallein also earned First Team accolades for her performance.

With her time of 20:21, Voronko broke the MAC 6,000-meter record, previously held by three-time MAC Champion Juli Accurso of Ohio. Voronko shattered the of 20:35.3 by nearly 15 seconds, and Gallein's finish would have also fallen under the time needed to break the conference record.

The Green and White had one more runner take home conference honors, as Jordann McDermitt (Davison, Mich.-Davison) finished ninth in 21:01 to garner All-MAC Second Team accolades. Next to cross the line was senior Taylor Knoll (Warren, Mich.-Mott (Lansing CC)) with a 23rd-place finish in 21:35. The Eagles' fifth scorer was Amy Frauhammer (Saline, Mich.-Saline) in 21:55 for 33rd.

The team had two more athletes competing for the team's seven top spots as Marinja Manjon-Rivadulla (Barcelona, Spain-Escola University) finished 39th in 22:13 and Lauren Pottschmidt (Granger, Ind.-Penn) rounded out the Eagles' lineup in 22:43 for 60th. Rebecca Quaintance (Commerce, Mich.-Walled Lake Northern) and Danielle Bentzley (Birmingham, Mich.-Seaholm) also donned the Green and White, finishing in 23:03 and 23:30, respectively.

The University of Toledo claimed the overall team title with 48 points, and all five of the team's scorers earned all-conference honors. Toledo's head coach Linh Nguyen was honored as the MAC Coach of the Year for his team's performance.

Coach Parks was proud of her team, but knows that her squad will be one to contend for the MAC title in the next coming years. "I'm pleased with the finish. Our goal was to win, but Toledo ran a great race and they were just too much for us today. I'm proud of the way that the girls competed; they got out well and they didn't back down the entire race. Our top-three runners made a strong statement once again, but we just didn't have as much depth as Toledo. But it's very satisfying to move up to the runner-up spot."

As for the future of the program, Parks is looking forward to watching her team develop. "The program is in good shape with Sofie and Jordann returning along with Anna Aldrich, who finished 19th in the MAC as a freshman last year and was out with an injury. Amy has also improved tremendously and we have a number of other young runners who are working hard and are hungry to fill in for the seniors that we will lose," she explained.

Nearly two weeks will pass before the Eagles take on regional competition, with the team traveling to Madison, Wis. for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, Nov. 14. "We're really excited about our chances for the regional meet in two weeks," noted Parks. "This was a strong race for us, but we feel like we have an even better one in us. We're looking forward to seeing how high we can finish in such a loaded regional." Parks's team will be put to the test at the upcoming regional, and will look to make even greater strides in improvement. The regional race is slated to start at noon.

Team Standings

1. Toledo 48

2. Eastern Michigan 69

3. Miami 103

4. Bowling Green 127

5. Central Michigan 155

6. Western Michigan 183

7. Buffalo 187

8. Kent State 202

9. Northern Illinois 212

10. Ohio 231

11. Akron 258

12. Ball State 359

2014 MAC Champion: Victoria Voronko (EMU)

2014 MAC Coach of the Year: Linh Nguyen (Toledo)

All-MAC First Team

Victoria Voronko (EMU)

Maria McDaniel (WMU)

Sofie Gallein (EMU)

Mackenzie Chojnacky (Toledo)

Kelsey Hildreth (NIU)

Jess Hoover (Miami)

Abbey Kelto (CMU)

All-MAC Second Team

Brooke Tullis (Toledo)

Jordann McDermitt (EMU)

Janelle Noe (Toledo)

Meghan Heuer (NIU)

Cara Deangelis (Toledo)

Rebecca Rae (BGSU)

Liz Weiler (Toledo)

EMU Individual Results

1. Voronko, Victoria 20:21

3. Gallein, Sofie 20:28

9. McDermitt, Jordann 21:01

23. Knoll, Taylor 21:35

33. Frauhammer, Amy 21:55

39. Manjon-Rivdadulla, Marina 22:13

60. Pottschmidt, Lauren 22:43

74. Quaintance, Rebecca 23:03

91. Bentzley, Danielle 23:30