The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams finished in the middle of the pack at the Big Ten Championships, but two runners earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors.
Senior runner Donny Roys and junior runner Meredith Wagner both finished in 12th place overall to lead their respective teams Sunday in East Lansing, Mich. For both, their final positions were determined at the very end of the race.
Roys was in a pack of eight runners vying for eighth place and the final First Team All-Big Ten spot with 600 meters to go.
While Roys had at one point led the pack, he was in 13th entering the final stretch. He managed to overtake one runner in the sprint for the finish to place 12th overall.
Wagner, who had been running in the top 10 for most of the race, fell to 12th position in the last 50 meters. Despite getting passed at the end, Wagner still met her personal goal to “finish in the top pack,” and earned a Second Team All-Big Ten spot.
Despite the individual successes, neither of the teams finished where they wanted in the overall competition, but both finished about where they were expected to.
“We’re never excited about an eighth place finish,” said men’s coach Brice Allen. “(But) considering the youth of this group, it’s where we were predicted to be going into this meet.”
The women’s team was facing tough competition, including four nationally-ranked teams. The Buckeyes finished behind all of their ranked opponents.
While this year’s conference championship didn’t garner the results the teams had hoped for, Allen is optimistic about his squad’s future.
“We’re excited about the youth of this group,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys who are gaining experience and gaining strength.”
The women’s team has bright spots to focus on coming out of the competition.
“The girls ran well and we ended up sixth, which is better than we did last year, so I’m pleased with that,” said coach Khadevis Robinson.
However, the team’s finish might have been better if freshman runner Lexi Aughenbaugh had not been injured during the event. Aughenbaugh finished nearly a minute behind the time she posted in the previous event.
“If Lexi could have not been injured and ran close to what she’s been running all year, I think that would have helped us out a lot,” Robinson said.
Both teams are preparing for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Nov. 9 in Madison, Wis.