The University of Toledo cross country teams competed in the Mid-American Conference championship meet today. Junior Athena Welsh took runner-up after finishing in 20:37.9, leading the Rocket women to a team runner-up title.
"Athena's had an amazing season and she's carried it through today with a second place MAC finish," said head coach Linh Nguyen.
Sophomore Michelle Hostettler was the second Rocket across the line with a time of 21:38.8 to take 16th. Claire Steigerwald was the first freshman to finish (21:43.4) and placed 19th. Seniors Jennifer Licher (21:48.9) and Petronela Simiuc (21:50.5) took 21st and 22nd, respectively.
Welsh was named All-MAC First Team and Steigerwald was named MAC Freshman of the Year.
"I think the team all ran a good, strategic race. Unfortunately, we just came up four points short of a title," Nguyen said. "I know that the girls are heartbroken and I'm heartbroken for them because they worked so hard, but you run as hard as you can and the chips fall where they fall."
On the men's side, junior Dismas Koech set the pace for the Midnight Blue & Gold, taking 46th in 25:56.6.
"For the men it's tough because we lost one of our top-five guys last week and another one is injured," said Nguyen. "We're just kind of short-handed and when you're running short-handed it's really difficult to be competitive, especially in a small field like this."
Senior Josh Oeters was the next Rocket to cross the finish line, taking 59th (26:30.8). Jacob Wistingausen took 68th (26:54.3) with Jake Papish following close behind to take 70th (26.56.2).
The Rockets stand to face a larger field when they head to NCAA Regionals in Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 9.
"That's a larger field and it suits us better the way our team is made up," Nguyen said. "We're going to try to be the top MAC team and be as high up in that as we can for the women. For the guys we might be without two of our top-five. I know those guys are going to go in there and race as hard as they can and try to finish the season on a high note."