Oberlin Misses NCAC Championship Title
Expectations were high for the men’s and women’s cross-country teams as they traveled to Gambier, Ohio, this past weekend to compete in the North Coast Athletic Conference Championships.
With senior standout Geno Arthur and the Yeomen hoping to claim their first NCAC Championship and the Yeowomen looking to win their seventh consecutive championship, both teams were prepared for the tough conference competition.
Arthur would ultimately be Oberlin’s lone champion, outlasting 2014 champion Logan Steiner of Allegheny College to win the individual men’s championship.
Going into the race, Arthur acknowledged that he had expected that the individual competition would come down to Steiner and himself. “I had a pretty good idea it would be Logan and me,” Arthur said. “It was close at the Rumble, and I knew it would be the same at Conference. He is just a really tough runner.”
Arthur outlasted Steiner and won the individual championship with a time of 25 minutes, 0.7 seconds — eight seconds faster than any other competitor in the men’s 8K, a time that landed him the first male NCAC championship in Oberlin history. Head Coach Ray Oppenheimer praised Arthur for his dominant championship performance. “I was really proud,” Oppenheimer said. “He has put in so much hard work towards that goal. To see how he did it, controlling that race the whole way, moving the last mile, it just made my heart swell.”
Arthur’s feat was not the only notable performance for the Yeomen, as senior Joshu Urso and junior E.J. Douglass also had strong outings. Urso finished 11th with a time of 26:00.1, and Douglas finished 18th with a time of 26:08.6. Similarly, first-year duo Ben Gilvar-Parke and Grant Sheely finished 21st and 24th in their first championship appearance. Overall, the Yeomen would finish third with 75 total points.
The Yeowomen had several standout performances as well. Senior Sarel Loewus led the way with a fifth-place finish of 23:01.1 on the women’s 8k course and was closely followed by first-year Linnea Halsten who came in seventh place with a time of 23:08.9. Junior Emily Curley finished in 12th place with a time of 23:28.5 and sophomore Sarah Urso and freshman Vanessa LoChirco finished back-to-back, coming in 16th and 17th, respectively.
Despite the superb performances by the Yeowomen, the Allegheny College Gators were able to edge out a victory by only six points, knocking Oberlin’s women’s team to second place. However, although a conference championship eluded them, the Yeowomen still have much to look forward to as they gear up for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional alongside the Yeomen in less than two weeks.
Loewus maintained that confidence would be integral in the Yeowomen’s competitive edge heading into regionals. “I think that the key at regionals will be to be competitive and confident,” Loewus said. “We have such a strong top seven right now and I really think that we can make it to nationals.”
Similarly, Halsten stressed the importance of preparation and focus heading into regionals and that the upcoming race was just like any other.
“All season we have been practicing seven days a week — running , lifting, cross training and doing track workouts,” Halsten said. “When we get to a race, our coach always reminds us we are prepared, having put in the training. Now all we have to do is show it off.”
Oberlin’s season continues on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Great Lakes Regional Championship, where they will run against the top competitors in the Midwest and try to advance to the NCAA championships.