Courtesy of ohiostatebuckeyes.com
After disappointing finishes at the Big Ten Championships on Oct. 30, the Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams are working to improve on running in tighter packs as championship season presses on.
The Buckeyes will run at the Great Lakes Regional Championships on Nov. 12 in Toledo, Ohio, and coaches from both the men’s and women’s teams attribute their teams’ poor performances at the Big Ten Championships to a big gap between their first and fifth runners.
The coaches said that will need to improve at the regional meet in order for OSU to score better.
“I’d like to see us get five to six guys on a 20-second spread,” said Robert Gary, OSU men’s head coach.
OSU women’s assistant coach Chris Neal expressed similar thoughts for the women.
“We just need to clean up the tail end of our pack more than anything,” he said.
At the Big Ten Championships, both teams had spreads bigger than they would have liked. The men had a 28-second spread from their No. 1 to No. 5 runner, and the women had a 1:20 gap. The large spreads led to OSU finishing fifth in the men’s race and ninth in the women’s.
Women’s runner, junior Tori Brink, said having a small spread at the Great Lakes Regional Championships will be key to the Buckeyes running well. Brink finished first for OSU at the Big Ten Championships, in 23rd place, covering the 6K-course in 20:55.
“That’d be completely important at the regional meet,” she said. “Having our fourth and fifth runners being closer to our one, two and three would bring our team’s points down lower and allow us to get a higher place.”
Taylor Williams, a redshirt senior on the men’s team, said he would like to see his team have a smaller spread, but not too much needs to improve for OSU to finish high at regionals.
“I don’t think we change much and I think the team is still motivated,” he said.
At the Great Lakes Regional Championships, OSU will be running against a number of teams they have competed against this season.
Big Ten champion, the No. 1-ranked Wisconsin Badgers, and No. 7 Indiana highlight the men’s field, with No. 12 Michigan State leading the women’s field after winning its second-straight Big Ten championship.
The teams competing will be vying for a top-two finish, which results in an automatic bid to the NCAA National Championships. At-large bids to nationals can be given to teams that do not finish in the top-two but have performed well all season.