Men’s cross country wins Ric Sayre Invitational; women’s team finishes second

September 12th, 2013

Men’s Cross Country

[By Gabriella Kreuz]

The JCU men’s cross country team ran with a vengeance on Saturday, Sept. 7 at the Ric Sayre Invitational in North Canton, Ohio.  Following a second place finish in the 2012 Ohio Athletic Conference behind the University of Mount Union, any place besides first simply wouldn’t do.

The points equaled out to 38 for both JCU and Mount Union at the conclusion of the race, with the top five runners from each team scoring.  In accordance with tie-break procedure, the two teams’ sixth runners were called upon to enter the equation: JCU sophomore Andrew Snyder placed 15th (27:22) above Mount Union’s Bryan Derr in 18th place. Freshman Matt Oswald also snuck by Derr, finishing in 16th place (27:26) for a double-team that secured the Blue Streaks’ win.

“[Derr] came up on me around the second mile and gapped me by about 20 meters,” said Snyder. “Then I caught up to Oswald and we worked together to catch back up and beat him with 800 [yards] left.”

Snyder plays a different and more prominent role for the team this season given all of his improvement from last year.  He has moved up in the pack and pushes the back end of the point-scorers.  Head coach Dara Ford was very pleased with his performance.

“Andrew came up huge for us,” said Ford. “He had a fantastic breakthrough his freshman track season and really fed off of the confidence he gained with a really solid summer. Snyder ran almost two minutes faster than he did a year ago at this meet. I couldn’t be happier with the progress he’s made.”

At the front of the JCU pack, junior captain Johnny Honkala finished in fourth place (26:16), followed by junior and fellow captain Tagdh Karski (26:19) in fifth. Then came sophomore Patrick O’Brien (26:43) for seventh place and senior captain Chuck Mulé (26:50) arrived at the finish line shortly after in eighth. Rounding out the top five point-scorers for the Blue and Gold was freshman David Cremi, who finished 14th (27:16).

The Blue Streaks’ strength lies in the team’s depth. The men’s team has its hopes set on winning its first-ever Ohio Athletic Conference championship this season and they would be the first in school history to do so, if successful.

Editor’s Note: Both cross country teams run next in the National Catholic Championships at the University of Notre Dame on Friday, Sept. 20.


 Women’s Cross Country

[By Haley Turner]

After beating the University of Mount Union by a mere two points the week before, the women’s cross country team was a bit disheartened by their 40-point, second-place finish this past Saturday at the Ric Sayre Invitational at Walsh University.

Nevertheless, the Blue Streaks managed to have all five scoring runners in the top 15. Leading the pack was freshman Becky Rohwer, who finished an impressive fourth overall with a time of 19:01.65 and it seems the young runner is making a strong impact on the cross country team as she continues to improve.

Assistant coach Kyle Basista spoke highly of Rohwer, saying, “Becky did a great job leading the team as a freshman. She even had a 30 second personal record.”

Ninth place went to senior Caroline Kapela, who ran a fantastic time of 19:36.24. Soon after, junior Bridget Hanna crossed the finish line at 19:39.61 (11th) and brought with her sophomore Jenny Vrobel (12th place, 19:43.03) and senior Gabriella Kreuz (19:51.90, 13th).

“As a team, everyone is starting to feel like the workouts are beginning to pay off,” Hanna said. “It’s only the beginning, and I’m excited to see how we will do if we can stay mentally and physically fit.”

Basista also noted that Hanna’s race was, “as good as ever, and she made a big improvement from the last meet.”

Finishing shortly after was a pack of four JCU runners which was led by junior Emily Mapes. Mapes finished 17th overall and clocked in at 20:02.30. Two seconds later, senior Anna Busta crossed the finish line at 20:04.73 (18th). Senior Alyssa Singer and sophomore Hanna Sterle quickly followed placing 18th (20:05.63) and 19th (20:07.17), respectively. If there’s one thing that the Blue Streaks are known for it’s their pack running. It’s easy to see by the results that the women have a knack for sticking together and encouraging one another during the race.

Overall, Basista wasn’t jumping for joy about the results, but he believes the team is making progress and moving in the right direction.

“We didn’t run a complete team race, but it’s early on and that was our first 5K [race] of the season,” Basista said. “The women have been working hard and it’s only a matter of time before they see the results of their hard work.”