It was a busy opening weekend on the NCAC Cross Country circuit as all nine league schools were in action at six different events, highlighted by Allegheny and DePauw both sweeping the team titles at the Chatham Cougar Challenge and IWU Titan Opener, respectively. Looking ahead to this weekend, Ohio Wesleyan is hosting Denison, DePauw, Kenyon, Oberlin and Wittenberg for the OWU Invite.
ALLEGHENY breezed to victory at Saturday’s Chatham Cougar Challenge 5K on both the men’s and women’s side. On the men’s side, the Gators occupied each of the first four places, and eight of the top 10, to finish with just 17 points. Senior John Hughes (Cold Spring, NY/Haldane) edged classmate Carter Smith (Cranberry Twp., PA/Seneca Valley) for the individual title by less than two seconds, turning in a time of 16:32.84. Junior Sarah Hevener (Hilliard, OH/Hilliard Bradley) won the women’s race in a time of 20:14.25, 12 seconds ahead of teammate Olivia Mamula (Cambridge Springs, PA/Cambridge Springs), who placed second. Each of the top six spots were claimed by the Gators, who tallied a perfect score of 15 points.
DEPAUW kicked off its season at the IWU Titan Opener at Maxwell Park in Normal, Illinois. The Tigers swept the team titles at the event with the men scoring 32 points and the women totaling 28 team points. DPU men’s runners occupied three of the top five spots, led by senior Polo Burguete (Distritio Federal, Mexico) winning the 5k race in a time of 15:58.3. Burguete was followed by Paul Christian (Glen Ellyn, IL/Glenbard West) in fourth (16:16.7) and Cole Martin (Noblesville, IN/Noblesville) in fifth at 16:18.4. On the women’s side, Natalie Gruszka (Valparaiso, IN/Valparaiso) paced the Tigers with a third-place finish while covering the two-mile course in 12:22.2. Meghan Hennessey (Williamsport, IN/Seeger Memoral) was fourth in 12:31.2, followed by Haley Thompson (Oak Park, IL/Oak Park-River Forest) in fifth in 12:33.7 and Gabby Coffing (Lafayette, IN/Harrison) in sixth in 12:36.6.
KENYON hosted OHIO WESLEYAN and Mount Vernon Nazarene for a season-opening non-scored Tri-Meet. In the women’s race, Kenyon had the top four in the race led by freshman Cortney Johnson (Mt. Vernon, OH/Fredericktown) who crossed the line first in a time of 19:04.6. Sophomore Sana Qamar (Dublin, OH/Coffman) led Ohio Wesleyan by finishing 15th in a time of 20:56.1. On the men’s side, OWU senior Nick Horton (Westerville/North) and sophomore Ryan Lesmez (Arlington, Va./Yorktown) took the top-two sports in 16:31.8. Kenyon junior Kyle Rose (Meadville, PA/Meadville Area Senior) finished third with a time of 16:41.2.
WABASH began the 2017 season by competing at the Butler Twilight Opener. The Little Giants, the only Division III team competing against three DI programs and one DII school, placed fourth overall. Dominic Patacsil (West Lafayette, IN/West Lafayette) placed sixth individually, touring the 6,000-meter course in 18:43.5.
WITTENBERG hosted DENISON and a number of other schools for its own Wittenberg Invitational. On the women’s side, Denison claimed first place with 33 points and Wittenberg finished third (49), while Earlham took home first on the men’s side with 31 total points followed by Denison (45) in second and Wittenberg (67) in third. Wittenberg sophomore Alexis Gray (Washington Courthouse, OH/Washington Courthouse) won the individual title with a 5k time of 20:17.5, while Big Red sophomore Erin O’Connor (Bethesda, MD/Walt Whitman) finished second in 20:19.6. The Denison duo of Isabelle Cannon (Wooster, OH/Wooster) and Emily Grabauskas (Annandale, VA/Falls Church) rounded out the top-five in fourth (20:29.0) and fifth (20:32.8), respectively. On the men’s side, Wittenberg’s Charles Rodeheffer (Delaware, OH/Olentangy) won the title with a 5k time of 16:14.3, while Denison sophomore Benjamin Foster (Westport, CT/Staples) was sixth overall with a time of 16:59.4.
WOOSTER hosted OBERLIN, Notre Dame College and Baldwin Wallace for its annual season-opening non-scoring Wooster Invitational, held at the L.C. Boles Course on campus. The annual meet featured three different events – the women’s 4K, men’s 5K, and men’s four mile. NCAC runners swept the individual titles in two of the three events. Oberlin sophomore Marija Crook (Carrboro, NC/Chapel Hill) won the women’s 4k in 15:16.2 as the Yeowomen placed seven in the top nine, while Wooster’s top individual was senior Mackenzie Kellar (Albion, MI/Western) in 10th (15:56.1). On the men’s side, Oberlin junior Grant Sheely (Dobbs Ferry, NY/Dobbs Ferry) won the four-mile run in 21:27.8 with, Wooster junior Brain Lief (Shaker Hts., OH/Shaker Hts.) being the next best NCAC finisher in fourth, crossing the line in 21:46.0.