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Eastern Michigan, Toledo victorious at MAC Championships

Bulls finish in fifth, seventh

Sports Columnist

Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012

Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11


Nick Fischetti /// The Spectrum

The men's cross country team finished in fifth out of nine teams in the 2012 Mid-American Conference Championships in local Grand Island.

Some would say the cold and rainy weather on Saturday called for a day inside, sipping coffee and wearing fuzzy socks.

A cross country runner would say otherwise.

“This is a perfect day for racing,” said cross country assistant coach Todd Witzleben.

The cross country teams took to the mud Saturday, as they hosted the 2012 Mid-American Conference Championships at Beaver Island State Park in local Grand Island. The men finished in fifth out of nine teams and women finished in seventh out of 12. Eastern Michigan won the men’s title and Toledo claimed the women’s.

The conditions were similar to the last time Buffalo hosted this event in 2006. A forecast of rain and a crispy 45 degrees left fans wondering what the effect would be on the runners.

In the men’s 8k race, Eastern Michigan’s Terefe Ejigu was last year’s runner-up and this year’s favorite. He finished in first, unsurprisingly, with a time of 24:44.

The Bulls performed well as a team, as they entrustedjuniors Mike Pressler and Zach Ahart and sophomore Zach Krause to lead the team. All three finished in the top 15 andearned All-MAC Honors.Pressler finished in sixth at 24:59; Ahart in ninth at 25:02; and Krause in 14th at 25:22.

Not even the Toledo fans in blue hair and gold masks could deter the headstrong squad.

“They were focused; we’ve talked about that all season,” said head coach Vicki Mitchell. “When it gets to race time, as soon as they get to the competition site, it’s game on.”

The Bulls finished with 105 points – a mark the team was hoping to surpass.

“We graduated a big group last year, so we knew that we were going to have a lot of young runners,” Mitchell said.

With such a young team, the men’s team has promise looking forward to next season.Other top finishers were freshman Austin Coneys at 26:01 and sophomore Alex Saavedra at 26:14.

Toledo was the favorite coming into the women’s 6k race. The course was muddy and sloshy, but no one seemed phased. Buffalo finished with 179 points, just one shy of tying Akron. Toledo finished first with 24 points.

The Bulls’ leader was Kara Patrick, who finished in 22nd with a time of 22:18.

Other top finishers for the Bulls were: Sam Beim (22:29), Katie Sanders (22:32) and Shelby Janutol (22:52).

Up next for the Bulls is the NCAA Northeast Regionals, set for Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. in Madison, Conn.



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