The postseason for Ashland University's men's and women's cross country teams will begin on Saturday (Oct. 26) at the 2019 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships, hosted by Purdue Northwest.
At PNW's Westville, Ind., campus, the women's 6K race will begin at 11 a.m., with the men's 8K race to follow at 11:45 a.m.
Prior to the start of the fall, Ashland's men were picked to finish sixth, and AU's women eighth.
The Eagle men are coming off their best showing of the season on Oct. 11 at Wilmington's JennaStrong Fall Classic, where they took third place in the 36-team field.
"The goal on the men's side is top five or better," said Ashland head coach Jacob Sussman. "There's a couple teams we want to get close to, if not beat, going into regionals – Wayne State, Northwood. Get as close as we can to Saginaw."
Senior Steven Kapes has been the Eagle men's No. 1 runner all season, while senior Kyle Shively was the No. 2 in the first three meets. Junior Ian Johnson has finished anywhere from second to fourth in every race. Sussman said the wild card on Saturday could be sophomore Cody Booth, who was Ashland's No. 3 finisher at Wilmington.
"He's made huge improvements since the beginning of the year," Sussman said. "We finally got his legs underneath him at JennaStrong, and had an amazing race."
"Sievert is in way better shape than what he's shown us," said Sussman. "We have the firepower to do it."
Ashland's women have had senior Johannah Stefanek and sophomore Abby Moser at the head of the pack all season. Freshmen Emma Hinkle and Hannah Ohman were third and fourth, respectively, at Wilmington, and have been in the top four for most of the campaign.
"Hannah and Emma have a ton of potential," Sussman said. "I think they are finally getting used to running the 6K distance."
Senior Haylee Zigan has been the team's No. 5 runner each of the last three races.