COLUMN: Women’s cross country will end drought soon

Freeland senior Breanna Lesnar embraces teammate after their meet on Oct. 31 at the MAC Championship in Akron, Ohio. Monica Bradburn | Assistant Photo Editor

Disney’s The Incredibles, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Mean Girls, 50 First Dates and The Polar Express. These are all movies that came out the last time a Central Michigan cross country team won the Mid-American Conference Championship.

The men’s team won it back in 2004. For the women’s team, the drought has been even longer. The last time they won it was all the way back in 2000, before George W. Bush’s first term as president.

This year, the Chippewas women’s and men’s teams placed third and fourth respectively and the women were only one point off of second. Since 2012, neither the men nor women have finished outside of the top five in the conference, so they are on the right track.

Next year, however, could be the best chance the women’s team has had in a long time to win the MAC Championship.

The women’s team returns four of their top five runners with only senior Alyssa Dyer leaving the team after this year. Fellow senior Kelly Schubert redshirted her freshman year and has one more year of eligibility.

The four runners they return all finished in the top 22 this year at the MAC Championship and all will improve with another year of training and experience under their belt.

They will be led by sophomore Kirsten Olling, who finished seventh this year in the MAC Championship, and Schubert, but will also field a healthy dose of very young talent in freshmen Samantha Allmacher and Megan O’Neill, both of whom received championship experience this year.

This year's MAC Champion, Eastern Michigan, by contrast will lose two of their top four runners, as will second place Bowling Green. The next closest team to CMU at the MAC Championship was Western Michigan in fourth place by a wide margin of 45 points.

With the Chips returning so many from this year’s top five and EMU and Bowling Green taking a step back, they have a very real shot to overtake both of them and capture the championship.

It has been 15 years since the last time the Chippewas won a MAC Championship. That drought, I am sure, will come to an end next season.