Men's cross-country finish runner-up at MAC Championships
The men’s cross-country team finished second overall at the Mid-American Conference Championship meet in Buffalo, N.Y. this weekend with 72 points.
It was one point ahead of third place Akron and Miami (OH).
The underclassmen led Central Michigan this weekend, with sophomore Kyle Stacks finishing first for Central Michigan. Fellow sophomore 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 we’re able to pull further ahead, together.”
Stacks finished the 8-kilometer 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 the scoring line-up was redshirt freshman Nate Ghena, who finished 20th in 25:29.1, and senior Matt Lutzke finished 22nd for the Chippewas.
Junior Nathan Huff finished 28th, and sophomore Ben Wynsma finished 34th outside the scoring line up.
Randolph was satisfied with the men’s performance and their unity.
“Hopefully we continue going into the direction we want," Randolph said. "We just came a little short of what we wanted this weekend."
Three of the men’s runners earned All-MAC honors this weekend. Drudge earned the distinction for the third consecutive year, while Stacks and Lievense received the honors for the first time in 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 said he found the weekend bittersweet.
“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.”
CMU will continue their season at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships Nov. 9 at 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.”