Select members of the men’s and women’s cross country teams took their marks in Powell, Ohio last Saturday to compete in the NCAA Great Lakes regional meet — one of the final contests of the season for both teams. The meet, which was hosted at Ohio Wesleyan University, featured 36 men’s and 25 women’s teams with a total of 242 men and 247 women competing, all from schools belonging to the Great Lakes Region. The Yeomen finished 26th overall with a score of 727, while the Yeowomen surged to fifth place with a score of 184.
“Both teams executed the game plans we wanted on Saturday,” Head Cross Country Coach Ray Appenheimer said. “The men’s team did a really good job moving up in the second half of the race with discipline and confidence. The women weren’t able to get a national spot, but still performed really well.”
The highlight of the day was a first-place finish by junior and North Coast Athletic Conference champion Linnea Halsten, who crossed the 6K finish line with a time of 21 minutes, 37.2 seconds. Halsten — who is the first regional championship for the Yeowomen in seven years — completed the race an entire ten seconds before her runner-up.
“Seeing Linnea dominate the course the way she has all year was fantastic to watch,” senior Owen Mittenthal said.
Halsten now heads to the NCAA National Championships for the second year in a row. She looks to build off her 53rd place finish at last year’s National Championship meet.
“Linnea has been undefeated this season,” Coach Appenheimer said. “While that is likely to end at Nationals, she’s going to stick her nose in there with the best runners in the country, and just that makes me proud.”
Joining her will be teammate sophomore Marija Crook, who finished 10th overall in the Great Lakes Regional Meet. Crook, who came in second for the Yeowomen, crossed the finish line with a time of 22:49.1.
“Marija had the race of her life, both placing 10th and qualifying for nationals as an individual,” Mittenthal said.
Other noteworthy finishes at Saturday’s meet came from sophomore Oona Jung-Beeman, who finished with a time of 23:22.9, as well as from the Urso sisters, with senior Sarah finishing at 24:04.0 and sophomore Rachel following closely behind at 24:10.4.
The Yeomen were fueled mostly by junior Grant Sheely, who came in at 122nd place in the 8K with a time of 27:52.4. Other notable finishes for the Yeomen on Saturday include the 139th place spot by first-year Archie Velazquez with a time of 28:12.1, and junior Dylan Caban, who came in 140th with a time of 28:14.3.
“Although our season’s over, we all gained lots of experience this year,” Sheely said. “We’re a young group and we really learned how to be a team. We’re all looking forward to carrying that into next year.”
Halsten and Crook will take the trip to the NCAA National Championships, hosted tomorrow at Principia College in Elsah, IL.
“I’m excited, but nationals is really just a bonus at the end of the season,” Crook said. “I just want to do whatever I can do, have fun and enjoy it.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the cross country runners will soon begin preparing for their winter track season, a shift that increases the team size to 95 members.
“After this weekend, we’re no longer a cross country team,” Appenheimer said. “We’re a track team now, but the strength of the community remains the same.”