Cross country teams are on the final stretch of season


Jason Howell

Junior Paxson Menard finishes 41th out of 250 during the men's 8K red race at the Bradley Pink Classic on Friday at Newman Golf Course on Friday in Peoria, Ill. Menard finished with a time of 24:53.

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

The Eastern men and women’s cross country teams both placed second at the Ohio Valley Conference Cross Country Championships and will try to continue their success at the NCAA Midwest Regional next weekend.

Both teams began the year with first place finishes at the EIU Walt Crawford Open. Next up was the Illinois State Invite where the men came in fourth of eight teams and the women came in sixth out of nine.

Junior Ivy Handley compared the two teams to a family.

“We all enjoy what we do,” Handley said. “We hold each other accountable to be the best runners and people we can be. My teammates are my best friends, my tutors, my family away from my real family and I am the same to them.”

The third meet of the year was a third place finish of 18 teams for the men that competed at the Notre Dame invitational in the beginning of October. The women placed eighth out of 19. The men had another top-ten performance at the Bradley Pink Classic where they came in sixth of 26 teams. The women finished 14th out of 30 women’s teams.

The last meet they had before the conference championships was the Illini Open, where the women placed fifth out of eight teams. There were no team scores kept for the men.

Junior Riley McInerney of the men’s team and sophomore Maria Baldwin of the women’s team each earned first team All-OVC honors this year. McInerney had a first place finish in the first meet of the year.

At the Illinois State invite he came in second with a time of 24:41.7 seconds and at the Notre Dame invite he placed third with his time of 24:40.7 seconds. He earned a new personal record at the Bradley Pink Classic with a time of 24:28.4 seconds and placed 21st in that race.

Baldwin also had a first place finish at the beginning of the year placing first at the EIU Walt Crawford Open with a time of 18:03.48 seconds. She set her personal record at the Notre Dame invite with her time of 17:44.5 seconds in a race that she placed seventh. She placed sixth at the OVC Championships with a time of 17:46 seconds.

The men and women also each had a runner that earned second team All-OVC honors. Juniors Paxson Menard of the men’s team and Ivy Handley of the women’s each had performances in the conference championships which earned them second team honors.

Menard earned the honor with his ninth-place finish with a time of 25:13.2 seconds and Handley got the honor after a placing 13th with a time of 18:10.5 seconds. Junior Tyler Yunk just missed out on second team honors for the men with his 15th place finish at the conference championships.

Handley earned her place on the All-OVC second team after a placing 13th with a time of 18:10.5 seconds. She said she felt highly about receiving this honor.

“It’s incredible,” she said. “All of the hard work paid off.”

The cross country season is not over however, the NCAA Midwest Regional takes place Nov. 13 and the NCAA Championship is Nov. 21.


Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]