By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – This weekend the Capital University men's and women's cross country team will compete in the 2018 Ohio Athletic Conference Cross Country Championship, hosted by the University of Mount Union.
This year's championships will be held at Sabel Creek Golf Club in Hartville, Ohio on Saturday, October 27. The races will begin at 11 a.m.
The Capital women's cross country team is set to be paced by senior MacKenzie Meyers (Ashville, Ohio/Teays Valley). Meyers has been Cap's top finisher in each of its five races this season. Her top 6,000-meter time came last season which was clocked at 23:31.8 at the All-Ohio Championships in Cedarville, Ohio.
Freshman Kayleigh Noecker (Circleville, Ohio/Teays Valley) has been the next Crusader to cross the line for nearly every race this season and in her lone 6k at Otterbein she finished in 28:29.2 to finish 39th.
Noecker is one of seven Crusaders that will be experiencing their first OAC Championship this season. Of those that have seen significant time and will make up the lineup include Lynna Freeman and Madeleine Rollins.
Last year the Crusaders finished eighth of nine teams and had two top-25 finishers.
On the men's side, senior Nathan Hutchins (Toledo, Ohio/Maumee) and freshman Grant Ward (West Liberty, Ohio/Benjamin Logan) have served as Capital's top finishers consistently and are expected to pace the Crusaders this weekend. Cap has had three 8,000-meter races this season, and Hutchins and Ward have finished 1-2 on the team in each of those. Hutchins and Ward have also seen their times dip to below 30:00 and improve by more than 1:30.
Beyond the duo, freshman Daniel McPherson (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Benjamin Logan) and sophomore Jonas Pyle (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio/Woodridge) are likely to make up the remainder of the CU lineup. Both have seen their times lower on the 8k circuit.
Capital finished the 2017 championships in seventh place. Only senior Andrew Rus and Hutchins have experience at the conference championships.
The top 18 runners on both men's and women's sides will earn all-conference honors. First team laurels will be given to places 1-9 and second team honors for finishers 10-18.
The men will run an 8,000-meter course and Mount Union has won a conference record 28 men's championships, but Ohio Northern has won the last three team titles in a row.
The women will run a 6,000-meter course and Baldwin Wallace has won the team title a record 16 times. Otterbein has won the last three conference titles and the Cardinals appear to be the favorite as they are ranked No. 27 nationally and third in the Great Lakes Region.
For more information including maps, links to live results, directions and team information go to the OAC Championship homepage, provided by host Mount Union.