At home and in the cold, the Miami men’s and women’s cross country teams both finished in the top three at the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Cross Country Championships for the first time since 2012.
Led by sophomore David Coffey’s fourth place finish in 24 minutes and 38 seconds, the men, as projected, finished second to defending champion Eastern Michigan. Coffey moved up ten places from the 2016 MAC Cross Country Championships and secured a First-Team All-MAC placing.
“David Coffey has been really solid for us this year,” Director of Track and Field/Cross Country Tom Chorny said in a post-race interview. “Whatever he’s doing he’s got to continue doing, because he really brought it today.”
Sophomore Sean Torpy brought home Second-Team All-MAC honors with an eighth overall placing in a time of 25 minute and two seconds in the eight-kilometer race. Torpy moved up 32 places overall from last year’s championship race.
A strong pack presence of senior Jake Brumfield and sophomores Brad Davis and Christopher Torpy followed, finishing 13th, 14th, and 15th. Brumfield and Davis obtained Second-Team All-MAC placings for their races.
“We knew EMU would have 3 guys at the front of the race so we wanted to match that with 3 or 4 guys of our own, then use our depth to fill as many of our guys in between Eastern’s 4th and 5th,” said Davis.
The men’s spread between their first and fifth runners was only 34 seconds, which was the smallest of all teams in both races.
The gap has shrunk between these teams, as last year the ‘Hawks were 48 points behind the Eagles while this year’s difference was only 30 points.
This trend could continue as the RedHawks return seven of nine runners from their MAC lineup, while the Eagles only return three of nine.
Excited by this, Davis mentioned that senior Matt Bromley will be back after redshirting this season. Bromley ran his personal best this past? year at the All-Ohio Intercollegiate Championship with a time of 25 minutes and five seconds.
The Eagles had four of the seven First-Team All-MAC runners, the First-Team also included junior Noah Schaub of Bowling Green State University in third and senior Garrett Crichlow from the University of Akron in sixth.
Eastern Michigan was led by an one-two punch of seniors Hlynur Andresson, last year’s runner-up, and Lahsene Bouchikhi. It was EMU’s eighth consecutive MAC Championship, matching the longest streak in MAC history set by the RedHawks between 1949 and 1956.
The women surprised many in the MAC by placing third with 115 points, after being projected to finish sixth.
“The women came through very strong today,” said Chorny. “I think they really stepped up and performed exactly how we needed them to.”
Miami’s front runners, senior Maria Scavuzzo and sophomore Carly Davis, did their jobs to perfection by placing seventh and eighth overall individually. Davis came in three seconds behind Scavuzzo and set a new personal best by one second.
Senior Alesha Vovk also had a strong performance — placing 21st overall with a personal best by ten seconds. Vovk’s placing improved 18 spots from her last MAC Championship in 2015.
The RedHawks used their fifth through seventh runners to widen the gap between them and four-place Northern Illinois. Senior Allison Klonne, junior Haley Sandvik and sophomore Maegan Murphy finished within five seconds of each other and right before the Huskies’ fifth runner.
“We knew we were capable of accomplishing a top three finish, we just had to believe,” Scavuzzo said. The finish was “a long time coming” and had been the team’s goal since the summer.
Eastern Michigan took home their third consecutive MAC Championship, over 50 points ahead of second-place Toledo. The Eagles had four All-MAC runners, the most of any team in the women’s six-kilometer race.
Senior Hanne Christensen of Western Michigan surprised the field by winning the race in 20 minutes and 44 seconds. Christensen was not an All-MAC runner last year, but has seen great improvement over the last year.
Last year’s champion Jordan McDermitt of Eastern Michigan was a little off her game, but still managed to finish fourth overall and was her team’s second runner.
The RedHawks will race next in Terre Haute, Indiana for the NCAA Division 1 Great Lakes Regional on Friday, November 10th. The women will race in the six-kilometer race at 11:15 a.m. and the men will race in the eight-kilometer race at 12:15 p.m.