Junior Peter Hayden and freshman Giovanni Copploe run in Ohio State cross country’s Big Ten Championship meet in Upper Arlington, Ohio, Nov. 3. Credit: Gabe Burggraf | For the Lantern

Ohio State hosted the 2019 Big Ten Cross Country Championships Sunday on its home course in Upper Arlington, with hundreds of spectators gathering to cheer runners on.

The No. 21 Ohio State women’s team tied for fifth in a field of 14 teams in the 6k, while the Buckeye men’s team placed 11th in a 12-team 8k race. 

Senior Abby Nichols took fifth place in the women’s race with a personal best time of 20:24, placing her on the All-Big Ten first team.

Following Nichols, seniors Julia Rizk (20:45) and Lainey Studebaker (20:56), as well as freshman Allie Guagenti (21:20) and junior Kalee Soehnlen (21:33) combined to score 144 points.

“Abby ran well, with a great push at the finish,” associate head coach Sara Vergote said. “The women ran with spirit and finished strong. The meet’s energy really helped us to the finish today.”

Michigan State’s women’s team won the Big Ten Championship, followed by runner-up Wisconsin. Ohio State and Illinois tied for fifth place with 144 points.

Head coach Khadevis Robinson said he’s ready to get the women ready for the NCAA Regional meet.

“With eight top 25 teams, this race was great preparation for regionals, with these great teams,” Robinson said. “We’re going to see these teams again and others like Notre Dame at the regional, so we must get better and race well.”

In the men’s 8k race, senior Tevin Brown led the Buckeyes with a 25:01 performance, placing 49th overall. 

Followed by senior Luke Landis (25:18), freshman Giovanni Copploe (25:25), junior Peter Hayden (25:30), and sophomore Michael Zedan (25:43), the men’s team totaled 317 points.

Brown, a former member of Akron’s cross country and track and field program, had to acclimate himself to the Big Ten Championship race format, but was able to eventually separate from the pack.

“Coming from the MAC, I was originally trying to get used to the conference championship setup,” Brown said. “Having a great leader like Luke Landis was huge. I was able to run with him for the first 4k and push to the finish.”

With the regional meet approaching, Brown has his eyes set on qualifying for nationals.

“Luke and I were 47th and 48th last year at regionals, just in different jerseys, so I hope that we can work together and as a team to compete for nationals spots this year,” Brown said.

Wisconsin’s men’s team won the Big Ten Championship, while Ohio State’s 11th place finish put them ahead of only Rutgers in the field of twelve teams.

“Some of these guys are running at the highest level that they can right now, and we have to get better,” Robinson said. “We have to improve in order to compete with some of these running powerhouses. It’s on me.”

The Ohio State cross country teams will compete for nationals spots at the NCAA Regional Championships in Madison, Wisconsin, Nov. 15.