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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Panthers look to take OVC championship

The Eastern men’s and women’s cross country teams will finish up their seasons in Cookeville, Tenn. for the Ohio Valley Conference championships Saturday.

The Panther men’s team started out the 2010 season ranked at No. 2 in the OVC. The Panthers look to prove their ranking wrong and come in first Saturday.

Eastern’s men have not won an OVC cross country championship since 2005 and finished in second place last season.

The Panther women’s team finished second at the OVC championships last season.

Both teams finished behind Eastern Kentucky University in last year’s OVC championship. Eastern Kentucky has won the OVC championship seven times in the last 14 seasons, with the other seven being won by the Panthers.

Competing for Eastern Kentucky is Soufiane Bouchikhi, a freshman from Belgium, who has been named OVC Male Runner of the Week four times this season.

Many Panther runners consider Bouchikhi and Eastern Kentucky to be their biggest competition at the OVC championships Saturday.

Eastern Kentucky is not the only tough competition the Panthers will face at the OVC championship. Southeastern Missouri finished in front of the Panther men at the Bradley Classic two weeks ago.

Other than Southeastern Missouri, the Panthers have also competed against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville this season.

Both the men and women’s teams performed well against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, finishing in front of them at the Bradley Invite held in Peoria.

“Eastern Kentucky is picked to win it, but I like that we’re the underdogs going in,” team captain Olivia Klaus said. “I think that our training has just been getting better each week, and that it’s at a level where we just keep improving.”

“I like to think that we’re going to win. I think that that is the best attitude to have,” Klaus said. “The attitude that we can win, that we’re going to win, and that we’re going to beat Eastern Kentucky. If we go in there with that kind of an attitude, big things are going to happen for us.”

After the Ohio Valley Conference championships end, the Panthers will have another week to rest and train before the NCAA Regionals on Nov. 13th in Peoria. The site of the NCAA Regionals is the same site where the Panthers ran on Oct. 15 at the Bradley Classic, meaning the Panthers will already have a good feel for the track.

Dominic Renzetti can be reached at 581-7944 or [email protected].

Panthers look to take OVC championship

Panthers look to take OVC championship

The men’s cross country team practices Sept. 28 on the Panther Trail. Both men and women’s cross country teams will compete at the OVC Championships in Cookeville, Tenn. Saturday. (Jordan Boner

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