A season of improvement for Ashland University's men's and women's cross country teams will continue on Saturday (Nov. 3) at the 2018 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships.
The GLIAC meet will be at the Gainey Athletic Complex at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. The men's 8K will be at 11 a.m., followed by the women's 6K at 11:45 a.m.
Ashland's men and women have competed in four meets this fall prior to the conference meet, and there have been significant time drops for both teams throughout the season.
"There's a ton of indicators showing the improvement from last year to this year," said Ashland head coach Jacob Sussman. "We've got quite a few workouts where they were struggling to finish them last year, and now, they're adding a rep to that, plus a faster pace. It's almost everybody. It's great to see.
"It's definitely one of the flattest courses we've seen," Sussman continued of the Calvin College course. "There's virtually no elevation change. It's going to be fast."
Sussman said the goals at the beginning of the season were for the men to place third and the women to place fifth at the GLIAC meet.
"They're in the mix," Sussman said. "There's some tough teams in the GLIAC."
On the men's side, Ashland's top three runners are sophomore Tyler Sievert, junior Kyle Shively and sophomore Nathaniel Redden. Sievert ran a PR of 25:52.0 at the Jenna Strong XC Invitational on Oct. 12, Shively PRed in 25:36.2 at the All-Ohio Collegiate Championships on Sept. 29, and Redden worked his collegiate-best 8K time down to 26:10.8 at the Jenna Strong meet.
"If our front three perform like they have been, and we get a little bit more out of our four, five, six, seven…we're sitting pretty good," said Sussman.
The depth on the men's side comes from six runners who all have had sub-28-minute races this fall – sophomores Nick Reimund (26:46.8 PR at All-Ohio), Duvan Bautista-Catalan (26:54.3 PR at All-Ohio), Connor Ingram (26:58.5 PR at Jenna Strong) and Ian Johnson (season-low 27:03.8 at Jenna Strong), junior Matt Morris (27:19.4 PR at Jenna Strong), and freshman Matthew Long (27:35.1 PR at Jenna Strong).
Ashland's women also have a top three to lead its pack in junior Johannah Stefanek (23:45.9 PR at All-Ohio), senior Emily Schumaker (season-low 23:55.0 at Slippery Rock on Oct. 20), and freshman Abby Moser (24:16.8 PR at Slippery Rock).
"It's almost an exact same picture on the women's side," Sussman said. "If our top three do what they've been doing, the potential of our four, five, six, seven is there. I think we're going to be seeing some good things coming out of this meet."
The next group of Eagle women runners includes junior Haylee Zigan (24:37.0 PR at All-Ohio), and the sophomore trio of Tracy Morgan (24:47.1 PR at All-Ohio), Lexi Butterbaugh (25:03.5 PR at All-Ohio) and Maureen McKeown (season-low 25:47.6 at All-Ohio).