For the first time in 13 years, Ohio State cross country hosted a meet on its home course in Upper Arlington, Ohio.
The No. 21 Ohio State women placed third out of 12 in the 6k, while the Buckeye men placed fourth out of eight teams in the 8k race. Among their opponents were Big Ten foes Michigan, Illinois and Penn State.
Senior Lainey Studebaker took second place in the women’s race with a personal best 20:33.
Following Studebaker, seniors Abby Nichols and Julia Rizk finished in the top 11, and the women totaled 74 points. Only Illinois and reigning Big Ten Champion No. 7 Michigan edged out Ohio State.
Nichols, who finished fifth with a personal record time of 20:49.3, stuck to the lead pack early.
“I planned to take a chance today, since it’s the middle of the season, and try to hang with the pack as long as I could,” Nichols said.
The Buckeye women cracked the top 25 in the coaches poll two weeks ago.
“It feels really good. We don’t really pay that much attention to the rankings because we know we’re better than the rankings and we just need to keep working without thinking of the numbers,” Nichols said.
Senior Aaron Wood led the men, finishing sixth in a personal record 24:54.
Senior Luke Landis followed in thirteenth, with five men placing in the top forty overall, totaling 92 points.
“Right now we’re just working on making sure we get the first part of the race, building every week,” Landis said. “Last week we were working on getting to 5k as a group this week, to getting to 6k as a group, and by the end of the season we’ll be running the full 8k, hopefully with a strong pack up front.”
Along with Wood, sophomore Jake Wickert, senior Tevin Brown and freshman Gio Copploe all finished with personal records in the race.
“Physically talented enough, working hard enough, all that type of stuff’s in place, so now it’s a matter of really believing when you know situations,” head coach Khadevis Robinson said. “It’s not going to be easy.”
Robinson added that the team’s mental determination needs to improve in the coming weeks, which could allow runners like Nichols to hang with the lead pack longer.
“It’s like taking an ice bath,” Robinson said. “You stay in an ice bath long enough, it feels normal.”
The Buckeyes will try to continue improving in three weeks at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on Oct. 18, 2019.