EMU - Men's Cross Country Wins Seventh Consecutive MAC Championship

EMU - Men's Cross Country Wins Seventh Consecutive MAC Championship

Provided by EMU

KENT, Ohio (EMUEagles.com) – The No. 27 Eastern Michigan University men's cross country team had its finest showing to date at the Mid-American Conference Championships Saturday, Oct. 29, claiming their seventh consecutive conference title with a MAC record 15 points. Eastern dominated the race from start to finish, holding onto the top-five spots for a vast majority of the event and sweeping the podium.

"It was certainly a special performance for the athletes, coach, program, and record book," exclaimed Head Coach John Goodridge. "The boys had a goal, we developed a simple race strategy together, and they executed it to perfection."

Despite already having a history of tradition and success at the MAC Championships, this race was arguably one of the best in program laurels. The previous record for fewest points in a field of nine teams was 23, which was achieved by the Eagles in 2006 and 2014. This marked an improvement of eight points, as the team took home the top-five spots. As the race features five scored runners, the team simply could not have done any better when it comes to placing, and posted the conference's best point total in conference meet history.

With the victory, EMU claimed their 21st MAC title in program history, which now sits atop the conference. With their seventh straight championship, the Eagles have now won 11 of the past 12 overall MAC meets. Goodridge also won the 12th of his career, furthering himself as the winningest coach in conference history, while the earning MAC Coach of the Year honors for the 11th time.

The race started with the Eagles taking command early, as redshirt junior Hlynur Andresson (Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland - Mountain Ridge) held the first-place spot at the first split. Fellow redshirt junior Abel Flores (Defiance, Ohio – Defiance) sat just behind him in second, while junior Lahsene Bouchikhi (Antwerp, Belgium - Stedelijk Lyceum Paardenmarkt Luchthaven) held third. Last year's champion, senior Nick Raymond (Erie, Mich. – Mason) clung to the sixth-place spot, and redshirt junior Mitch Lenneman (River Falls, Wis. – River Falls) was in ninth.

The second split saw the Green and White hold the top-five spots, with Bouchikhi racing out in front. Andresson fell one spot into second, while Raymond surged into third. Flores held strong in the top-five at fourth, and junior Csaba Matko (Racalmas, Hungary - Szechenyi Istvan Gimnazium) jumped into fifth.

The conclusion of the race saw the Eagles hold onto all top-five spots for a clean sweep of the podium. For the second consecutive year, Raymond was crowned the MAC Individual Champion after crossing the finish line in 25:10.0, becoming the first Eagle to win the race in consecutive years since Gavin Thompson won the title in 2002 and 2003. Additionally, Raymond is just the 11th runner to win back-to-back inidividual conference titles since 1946.

The next three EMU harriers were just one step behind him, as the separation between first and fourth was just four tenths of a second. Andresson ended up taking home the silver with a time of 25:10.1, Matko claimed the third-spot after posting a time of 25:10.3, and Flores posted a time of 25:10.4 to take fourth.

Rounding out the top-five for the Eagles was Bouchikhi, who crossed finish line in 25:11.2 to complete the sweep, and secure a whopping team total of just 15 points. After Bouchikhi, senior John Knox (Gloversville, N.Y. – Gloversville) claimed 21st-place with a time of 26:03.5, while freshman Austin Wicker (Pinckney, Mich. – Pinckney) had a solid MAC Championship debut, taking 33rd in 26:24.4.

The final two Eagles to cross the finish line were Lenneman and redshirt freshman Austin Sargent (Cedar Spring, Mich. – Cedar Spring). Lenneman ultimately took 35th in the race after posting a time of 26:29.0, and Sargent claimed 65th in 27:36.9.

In addition to Goodridge being named MAC Coach of the Year, EMU saw Raymond, Andresson, Matko, Flores, and Bouchikhi earn First-Team All-MAC honors.

Next week, the Green and White will have a well-deserved weekend free of competition, after which they will head back to Wisconsin for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, Nov. 11.

Team Standings (8K)

1. Eastern Michigan 15

2. Miami 63

3. Buffalo 95

4. Ohio 98

5. Bowling Green 107

6. Akron 140

7. Central Michigan 196

8. Toledo 196

9. Kent State 247

First-Team All-MAC

Nick Raymond, EMU

Hlynur Andresson, EMU

Csaba Matko, EMU

Abel Flores, EMU

Lahsene Bouchikhi, EMU

Garrett Crichlow, Akron

Barrett Kemp, Buffalo

Second-Team All-MAC

Alex Wind, Ohio

Kohl Taberner, Bowling Green

Matthew Bromley, Miami

Andrew Dusing, Miami

Michael McKean, Ohio

Jake Brumfield, Miami

David Coffey, Miami

2016 MAC Champion: Nick Raymond, EMU

2016 MAC Coach of the Year: John Goodridge, EMU

EMU Individual Results

1. Nick Raymond 25:10.0

2. Hlynur Andresson 25:10.1

3. Csaba Matko 25:10.3

4. Abel Flores 25:10.4

5. Lahsene Bouchikhi 25:11.2

21. John Knox 26:03.5

33. Austin Wicker 26:24.4

35. Mitch Lenneman 26:29.0

65. Austin Sargent 27:36.9