Note: This recap appears in the Tuesday, Oct. 1 newspaper on Page A6.
CEDARVILLE — The Ohio University women’s cross country team finished 4th and the men 6th among a field of 35 schools at Saturday’s All-Ohio Championships held at Cedarville University.
The Bobcat women compiled 107 points, finishing behind champion Dayton (73), runner-up Akron (76), and Division II Walsh University, which finished third by scoring 93.
Senior Madison Sury finished 7th overall, covering the 6-kilometer course in 22:28.7, with junior Hailey Bowes just behind in 8th place with a 22:30.2. Rounding out the team’s top five were junior Jessica Hartman (25th; 23:07.0), sophomore Madelyn Bartolone (33rd; 23:27.2), and senior Melissa Koziol (34th; 23:27.5).
The men, meanwhile, tallied a score of 174, which placed them behind Otterbein (106), Walsh (150), and Case Western Reserve (153). Dayton (93) also edged Akron (94) for the team total on this side of the ledger.
Junior Griffin Butler led the way for the Bobcat men, his 25:46.2 in the 8-kilometer race good enough for 10th place. Sophomore Seth Gard finished 23rd with his 26:09.5, and Eric McKean (31st; 26:21.8), Matthew Agosta (41st; 26:32.5), and Josh Park (70th; 27:12.5) completed the scoring.
“We didn’t run especially well today,” admitted coach Clay Calkins. “[Koziol] and [Park] are usually our top runners, and Josh is even the defending conference champion. Both had been running well, but both had tough races today. It happens.
“But, we had some of our younger runners come up big, especially Madelyn [Bartolone] on the women’s side,” he added. “[Sury] and [Bowes] did a great job working together, and it was great to see Jessie Hartman healthy again. She ran a great race.
“That’s what I want our takeaway from today to be. If those athletes can continue to step up, and we get our top runners added back into the mix, there’s a potential for us to make a huge swing.”
Ohio freshman — and former Athens Bulldog — Tony Tonkovich ran 27:20.1 to finish 6th on the team and 78th overall in what was his first 8K cross-country race. Up until now, the team had been racing on 5K courses exclusively.
“It was definitely different,” Tonkovich said. “It wasn’t that I wasn’t prepared for it, but the heat made it more difficult than it would have been. It wasn’t too bad, though. I was ready for it. I took it out more conservatively than I usually do, and I felt like I was moving up the whole race.
“We’ve been running 55 to 60 miles a week, which is about 20 miles more than I was doing [at Athens],” he added. “The workouts and runs are basically the same, just with a few miles added to each one. I’m getting used to it.”
The team with the largest local flavor, however, was Shawnee State. The Bears boast two area athletes on their men’s team, sophomore Hunter Parsons from Meigs and freshman Condy Richardson from Alexander, as well as a pair (sophomore Jessica Cook from Eastern and Mallory Spencer, a junior, from Trimble) on the women’s team.
Shawnee’s men, currently ranked 11th nationally in NAIA, finished the meet in 9th place, and the 16th ranked women came in 15th.
Cook and Spencer both competed in women’s varsity, with Cook covering the course in 25:25.1 for 137th overall and Spencer finishing 218th with her 27:59.7.
Parsons and Richardson, sitting outside the top 10 in the Bears’ formidable lineup, ran in the men’s open race, with Parsons racing to a 30:28.3 and Richardson a 32:39.9.
“They’re all good kids and outstanding students,” said Shawnee St. coach Eric Putnam of the quartet. “We’re lucky to have all of them.”
Richardson’s former teammate at Alexander, Matt Belville — now a sophomore at Heidelberg — followed him through the finish with a 32:58.9 in the open race. Carter Carr, another former Spartan who has been running varsity for Cincinnati Christian, did not compete due to injury.