Men's cross country finishes second at MAC Championships
The men’s cross-country team finished second overall this week with 72 points – one point ahead of third place Akron and Miami (Ohio).
It was the younger guys leading the way this weekend with sophomore Kyle Stacks finishing first for CMU. Fellow sophomore teammate Ethan Lievense finished second on the team, edging senior Jason Drudge out by one-tenth of a second.
“The men ran quite well,” director of cross-country Willie Randolph said. “They ran as a pack; they ran away and matched well with the other schools out there. They worked together and were able to pull further ahead, together.”
Stacks finished the 8K race in 24:57.7. He finished only 13 seconds behind MAC champion Terefe Ejigu of Eastern Michigan.
“We didn’t get the ultimate goal, but we shouldn’t be too disappointed, because we fought as hard as we could,” Stacks said. “We’ll step it up for the regionals. We get stronger as the season goes on and we’re learning from testing ourselves.”
Lievense finished 12th overall with a time of 29:19.9. Rounding out the scoring lineup was redshirt freshman Nate Ghena, who finished 20th in 25:29.1 and senior Matt Lutzke, who finished 22nd for CMU.
Junior Nathan Huff finished 28th and sophomore Ben Wynsma finished 34th outside the scoring line up.
Willie Randolph said he was satisfied with the men’s performance and their unity.
“Hopefully, we continue going into the direction we want, but we just came a little short of what we wanted this weekend,” Randolph said.
Three of the men’s runners earned All-Mid-American Conference honors this weekend. Drudge earned the distinction for the third consecutive year, while Stacks and Lievense received All-MAC honors for the first time of their careers.
“It means a lot after all the hard work and teamwork,” Stacks said. “It’s a big jump from where I was last year and it feels great to be where we are.”
Randolph is proud of those student athletes who came away with the honor, though a team honor would have been preferred.
“I am very excited for the student athletes,” Randolph said. “I am happy and proud, but I know that they would trade those individual titles for their whole team being up on the podium, so it’s a little bittersweet.”
The Chippewas will continue their season at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships on Friday in Madison, Wis.
“I think we’re ready; we’ve been training for this all year,” Stacks said. “We’re more confident with the longer distances, and we know we can beat the schools as a team and individually.”