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Ohio University's Courtney Swain runs by Ball State's Jessica Bryzek at the Ohio Cross Country Invitational held in Athens on Sept. 5, 2014. (FILE) 

Cross Country: Ohio looks to build off of improved 2015 season

In order to build a solid 2016 campaign, Ohio's cross country team plans to use lessons learned from their success and mishaps in 2015.

The men’s and women’s cross country teams surpassed many expectations last season, as both teams had athletes that had distinguishable seasons.

Despite not winning a Mid-American Conference championship as anticipated, the women's team have reason to be optimistic for the future.

Redshirt senior Ellen Isaac, who won 2015 Women’s Runner of the Year, will return for the Bobcats. Isaac is looking to leave an impact during her final season, one year removed from having a record-breaking campaign, a season which she never finished below 14th. She fell just nine seconds short of qualifying for nationals.

Sophomore Alyssa Atkinson and junior Christina Seas will return and they are looking to build from solid previous seasons. Their leverage will be crucial considering the women lost eight runners to graduation.

The men’s team also heads into 2016 with a sense of optimism, especially with top runner Michael McKean returning.

Senior Alex Wind and junior Brad Miller, who put in a wide variety of strong performances last season, will also return and hopefully bring the team another successful season.

Clay Calkins, who earned Women’s 2015 Coach of the Year, will guide both teams.

The teams had success off the field as well, with 12 student-athletes earning a place on the 2015 Academic All-MAC team.

This year, the men’s and women’s teams look to finish at the top of the MAC Conference after finishing fifth and eighth in the MAC championships, respectively. The 2016 MAC preseason polling has the men’s and women’s team ranked at sixth and ninth. 

Ohio is ranked above Kent State but will face steep competition against surging division talents like Eastern Michigan, Buffalo, Miami and Central Michigan.

It will be important for the team to establish chemistry in the early meets of the season, so they can peak during tournament time.

The cross country teams will kick off their seasons this Saturday in Keiterberg, Ohio during the Rich Davis Flyer 5k Challenge.


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