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Ohio's Jake Gentile, Andrew Miller and Kurt Steinmuller run together early in a race September 2014. (File)(Correction: A previous version of this photo caption incorrectly stated the date. The race took place in September 2014. The caption has been updated.)

Cross Country: Men take first at Pre-Nationals, women 22nd

Heading into Saturday’s Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Indiana, the Bobcats knew their main goal was to make a statement against conference teams.

During practice this week, coach Mitch Bentley said senior Michael McKean’s confidence and talent as a runner would boost the team and allow them to earn significantly positive results.

Bentley’s prediction came true as the team grabbed first place, scoring 132 points over the weekend.

Ohio was led by senior Michael McKean (25:07.0), who finished first in the 8K and sixth out of 133 runners. All five men’s scorers would earn spots in the top 50 with Brad Miller (25:24.9) at 19th and Alex Wind, Kyle Bussard and Zach Zimmerman behind at 29th, 34th and 49th, running 25:38.2, 25:45.3 and 25:29.4 respectively.

They placed above present Mid-America Conference rivals, such as Miami, Toledo and Central Michigan, proving they are a legitimate contender in the conference with the MAC championships just a few weeks away.

The women finished significantly lower than the men at 22nd, scoring 512.

The top Bobcat finisher in the 6k was Emily Deering (22:47.1), placing 77th out of 165 runners.  Next up were Madison Sury (22:55.6) and Alyssa Atkinson (22:58.1), who finished in the top 90, earning spots of 87th and 89th respectively.

Similar to the men’s team, a large amount of women’s runners consist of underclassmen, who are inexperienced in tournament-caliber meets.

Coach Tim Sykes said more running experience in practice and meets will allow them to exude the confidence needed to produce stronger results during crucial tournaments.

“Through gaining more collegiate racing experience and having the ability to consistently train and recover at higher levels, we believe our young team's confidence will continue to improve,” Sykes said. “If you have the confidence and the fitness from training and recovering at high levels, the sky is the limit in our awesome sport.”

The Bobcats will be back in action on Oct. 29 in Kent, Ohio, during the MAC Championships.


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