First-Years Excel at All-Ohio Championship
Hundreds of runners hit the trails at the All-Ohio Championships 6K in Cedarville, Ohio, last Friday, but Oberlin managed to stand out among them all. The women’s team placed second out of 17 teams, with the Yeowomen first-years notching particularly impressive performances. The men’s team finished sixth in the 16-team field.
Head Coach Ray Appenheimer said he was impressed by the Yeowomen rookies once again.
“We’re a very young team,” he said. “We have a lot of really impactful first-year students. They’ve done a great job getting the hang of this whole college thing, but it’s also largely because we’ve got some great senior leadership and captains.”
The Yeowomen, led by three first-years in the top five, finished with 66 points. First-year Marija Crook placed 51st overall and eighth amongst the 122 D–III female runners, pacing the team at 23:08.2. Classmate Shannon Wargo followed closely behind, completing the race in 23:11.2 to place 56th overall and ninth in the D–III competition.
Crook was quick to credit the successful race to Appenheimer’s emphasis on sticking together.
“Something that Ray has been pushing all season is pack running,” Crook said. “We did an amazing job with that because in the race, the one-to-five split — the time between when the first person and the last person finishes — was only 26 seconds, which was the smallest in all the D–I, D–II and D–III races.”
While the women’s team has coalesced around the first-years, the men’s team is still looking to fill the shoes of All–American Geno Arthur, OC ’16. Arthur was one of the most decorated runners in Yeomen history and placed 22nd in the NCAA championships last year.
While losing one of the best runners in the country wasn’t easy, senior Ben Stassen said the squad has rebuilt its chemistry.
“I think that we lost a lot of our best runners last year, so we really came in without an identity, and we spent a lot of the last races learning who we are as a team,” Stassen said. “I think this past race we really saw the team group up better, and I think we’re starting to see better teamwork and more confidence.”
The increase in team chemistry was evident at the All-Ohio Championships. Senior captain EJ Douglass led the squad for the fourth race in a row with a time of 26:25.5 in the 8K, earning him eighth place among D-III men’s runners and 53rd overall. Sophomore Grant Sheely followed closely behind Douglass with a time of 26:29.6, which placed him 10th in D–III and 58th overall.
Both teams performed well despite battling bouts of illness going around campus.
“The team has been kind of waylaid by so many illnesses,” Appenheimer said. “Lots of coughing, lots of raspy throats, lots of headaches and head colds. I don’t think we’re alone on the College campus in feeling this stuff, but it’s made running in the races and practices a challenge.”
Rebounding from these setbacks, the men’s and women’s cross country teams are set to compete and host the Inter-Regional Rumble Saturday, Oct. 15, during fall break. The race has historically been intense, filled with fast times and strong competition. This will be the last race that a majority of the cross-country team will be able to compete in, as only the top-12 runners compete in the North Coast Athletic Conference and only seven run in regionals.
Douglass said he hopes the whole team’s last hurrah will be exciting.
“What I want to see is the entire team just having fun,” Douglass said. “It’s the last big joint team meet we have before conference and regionals, so it’s a great time just to be together and to kick off fall break.”