Oberlin Sends 9 Runners to NCAA

Sarah Kahl

The men’s and women’s cross country teams had an impressive showing at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional meet this past Saturday. The Yeowomen finished second overall, automatically qualifying them for the NCAA national meet. Sophomores Geno Arthur and Joshua Urso ran well and earned individual bids to the national meet.

Juniors Emma Lehmann and Kyle Neal, who have both had consistently successful seasons, led their teammates in the women’s 6k. Lehmann pulled ahead at the end of the race to finish second overall with a time of 21 minutes, 41 seconds. Neal finished fifth, just a few seconds behind with a time of 21:47. Completing the impressive junior trio was Sarah Jane Kerwin who finished just outside the top 10, in 11th with a time of 22:08.

Junior Carey Lyons, who is currently recovering from an injury, finished 38th overall in 22:56 and senior captain Lauren Taylor followed on her tail with a time of 23:13.

Senior captain Molly Martorella, who was sidelined due to an injury, was impressed with the runners’ performances. “The mentality that day was spot on,” she said. “We just have a great team dynamic and can get each other through the races. I was just so impressed that everyone really rose to the challenge and ran confidently.”

Martorella was particularly excited by junior Erica Morelli, who finished in 23:44, and first-year Emily Curley, who crossed the line at 24:22.

“Erica was our alternate, so she was kind of put on the spot to race. But she performed mentally strong, came in line and just did the unexpected,” said Martorella. “Emily, who’s a freshman, didn’t get overwhelmed by the meet, rather [she] just handled the pressure and competed really well.”

The Yeowomen’s top three finishers, Lehmann, Neal and Kerwin were honored for their success and were named to the All-Region team.

“Emma [Lehmann], Lindsey [Neal] and SJ [Kerwin] are all in my workout group, and I think a huge part of the success is the way we train. Neal and Kerwin are great at keeping the pace in the middle and Lehmann and I are good at turning on that last gear in the end. We need each other to race well, and our team’s support and dynamic is a huge part of our success,” added Martorella.

The Yeowomen finished second overall behind Calvin College. This earns the entire seven-runner team an automatic qualifying position in the NCAA national meet.

Though the entire men’s team did not qualify for the national meet, many individual performances stood out.

Arthur finished just 13 seconds off the top finisher, with a time of 25:23. His impressive time earned him the accolade of All-Region honors.

“I think this race only shows that we’re building,” said Urso. “We really upheld the expectations we had for ourselves at a big meet like this, but we haven’t even come close to reaching our full potential.”

Fellow sophomore Samuel Coates-Finke finished in 27:00 and first-year E.J. Douglas crossed the line just five seconds later. Senior Jimmy Taylor and sophomore Gabe Brown finished right on their tails in 27:12 and 27:16 respectively. This race marked the end of Taylor’s Oberlin cross-country career. Sophomore Rob Moreton was the final Yeoman to cross the finish line in 27:38. The Yeomen finished 10th out of 39 teams.

“It’s a different atmosphere than any other meet, and we all get way more pumped up about it than any other meet. That part was really fun,” said Arthur. “This is kind of like the playoffs, but you only get one shot. We all cheer for each other, and it’s really a special day.”

The seven Yeowomen, Arthur and Urso will compete at the National Championships on Saturday at Hanover College in Hanover, IN at 11 a.m.