Cross Country Finishes Season as NCAC Champions


Courtesy of OC Athletics

Senior Emma Lehmann (left) and Cross Country Coach Ray Appenheimer pose for a picture after the North Coast Athletic Conference championships. Lehmann finished first in the 6K race.

Michaela Puterbaugh

For the eighth time in the College’s history, the women’s cross country team prevailed in the North Coast Athletic Conference championships last Saturday, giving the team its sixth consecutive title. The men’s team followed just behind as they came in third place overall, beating last year’s fourth-place finish.

“I was really happy with how the men and women competed,” said Head Coach Ray Appenheimer. “They established their position early and made the rest of the conference come chase them.”

Just as they had been all season, the Yeowomen were led by their dominating group of seniors. Senior and All-Ohio champion Emma Lehmann achieved an individual championship as she finished the six-kilometer race with a time of 23 minutes, 15.7 seconds.

“It was gratifying, but it really could have been any one of us,” said Lehmann in an email to the Review. “We’ve all worked hard this season, and it wouldn’t have been possible without training with the group of seniors that I’ve been with all season. Over the past four years, we’ve really developed together as runners, and it’s been great to go through college with such a solid group.”

Trailing close behind Lehmann was fellow senior Kyle Neal, who earned a second-place spot with a time of 23:34.9. Taking fifth and sixth place were seniors Sarah Jane Kerwin and Carey Lyons, who finished just over a minute before their remaining senior teammate Erica Morelli.

In addition to the powerful leadership of the seniors, first-years Peyton Boughton and Sarah Urso’s times of 24:46.9 and 24:52.9 scored them 19th and 22nd spots overall.

“On the women’s end, our seniors have really been just tremendous,” said Coach Appenheimer. “You don’t have this kind of success without people really stepping up and doing their best.”

Although the Yeomen were not able to get a championship, they still ran well, as juniors Geno Arthur and Josh Urso led the team in second and eleventh place. They finished the race with times of 26:33 and 27:00.7 respectively.

“The condition of the course was not ideal and the times were slower, but our team did a good job staying mentally and physically tough throughout the race, which was evident in our team and individual performances,” said Josh Urso.

Sophomore EJ Douglass also added to the Yeomen’s success as he finished the men’s 8K with a time of 27:41.5, securing 25th place in the race. Coming up behind him in 34th place was junior Sam Coates-Finke, who ended in 28:19.8.

“We stress the same things in August that we do in October and in November and that is really connecting and locking down mentally, focusing well during the race and making the most of every opportunity they get and having fun with it,” said Appenheimer.

Aside from being mentally strong, the team has practiced effectively and seen the payoff, according to Josh Urso.

“I felt that our strength and core routines at practice played a major role in our success on Saturday with the poor conditions,” he said.

The cross country team will take on the Great Lakes Regional at Wilmington College in Mason, Ohio, on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 11 a.m. There the team will contend for a spot in the NCAA Championships.

“It’s really just about rest, recovery, a couple little tune-up workouts, but as the saying goes, ‘The hay is in the barn.’ There’s a lot we could do to screw up at this point and very little we could do to really push people’s performances much further,” said Appenheimer.