The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams didn’t impress at the 2011 Big Ten Championships at the University of Illinois last weekend.
While both teams thought they ran tough, neither had a small enough split in order to finish as high as they would have liked.
The men, led by junior Donny Roys and redshirt senior Taylor Williams, who finished 19th in 24:21 and 21st in 24:24, respectively, had a team score of 138. The Buckeyes fell to 13-time defending champion Wisconsin, as well as Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota.
“It was tough, we had a couple guys run really good, and then we probably just had too far a break between our fourth and fifth.” OSU head coach Robert Gary said.
Junior Julian Meyer was OSU’s third runner, finishing 25th in 24:28. Redshirt senior Adam Green and junior Chris Fallon rounded out the top five, covering the 8K course in 24:31 and 24:49, respectively.
Even though the team didn’t finish as high as they would have liked, Williams was happy to see his team battle.
“It’s disappointing. I think we were hoping for a little better, but at the same time it was about as good a race as we could have today,” he said. “It’s hard to be too critical because I think we ran really tough.”
After finishing well behind Michigan and Minnesota at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 14, the Buckeyes were only 34 points away from tying those two schools for third place on Sunday.
“It’s good because we’re already really shortening things up. Minnesota and Michigan killed us at Wisconsin just two weeks ago so we’re starting to close the gap,” Gary said.
The women saw No. 15 Michigan State win the title for the second-straight year.
Junior Tori Brink was the Buckeyes pace setter, finishing the 6K race in 23rd with a time of 20:55. The Buckeyes placed two other women in the top 40, with redshirt senior Jordan Jennewine finishing 32nd in 21:05 and freshman Nicole Hilton who finished 37th with a time of 21:09.
OSU women’s assistant coach Chris Neal liked how his top three finishers got out and finished strong, but said the team needed better performances from its other runners.
“I think my top three ran really tough,” he said. “We just left too big of a gap, we needed our fourth and fifth to be up there with them.”
Freshman Michelle Thomas and junior Molly Jacobson were the team’s fourth and fifth runners, finishing 58th and 83rd with times of 21:35 and 22:15, respectively.
The team will have a week off from competing before traveling to Toledo for the Great Lakes Regional Championships on Nov. 12.