Column: Cross-Country to place high in OVC Championships

Kaitlin Cordes, Cross Country Reporter

The Eastern cross-country team should find itself placing high in the Ohio Valley Conference Championship rankings in both the men’s and women’s divisions.

One team Eastern needs to watch out for, however, is Eastern Kentucky.

The Eastern Kentucky men’s team has won two of their five meets so far this season, while the women have won two of their four meets on the year.

The men have placed within the top-10 in two meets in which the team was not the top finisher. The women appeared in the top-10 spot in one other meet.

Sophomore Charlotte Imer is leading the EKU women’s team and was recently named an OVC Co-Runner of the Week following a personal-best performance at the Pre-National Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., on Oct. 15. Imer ran the six-kilometer course in 20 minutes, 32.9 seconds.

Graduate student Amos Kosgey also received an OVC Runner of the Week honor earlier this month after finishing 10th out of 201 competitors at the Joe Pine Notre Dame Invitational with a time of 23:57.1 on the eight-kilometer trail. Kosgey has received four OVC Runner of the Year honors in his time at EKU as well.

Based on Eastern’s performances so far this year, the Panthers should be able to topple the Colonels, who were voted in the preseason to finish first in the conference.

Eastern, the expected second-place conference finisher, should fare well on the men’s side.

Senior Paxson Menard has run the team’s fastest time this season with a ninth place time of 24:38.7 at the Bradley “Pink” Classic on Oct. 14. Menard has been Eastern’s top finisher for two of the team’s five meets.

Senior Riley McInerney ran times very close to Menard’s with McInerney clocking his fastest time this season at Notre Dame with a fifth place result of 24:40.8.

Junior Maria Baldwin has consistently been a top scored runner for Eastern this season as well. Baldwin won the team’s first meet of the season with a time of 17:48.92 on the 5K course.

She also recorded a school record-breaking time at Notre Dame by placing 18th with a time of 17:40.1.

Seniors Ivy Handley, Ruth Garippo, Rachel Garippo and Julie James as well as freshmen Sadie Elliot have been amongst Eastern’s scored runners in all meets except the Illini Open in which they did not participate.

Handley and the Garippo’s each earned their personal best times at the Notre Dame Invitational this season as well, each running under 19 minutes.

The predicted conference finishes may prove to be inaccurate come Saturday when the OVC teams square off in Nashville, Tenn.

Kaitlin’s predicted top-three team finishes at the championship:

  • First place- Men’s: Eastern Kentucky/Women’s: Eastern Illinois
  • Second place- M: Eastern Illinois/W: Eastern Kentucky
  • Third place- M: SIUE/W: SEMO

Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]