Aug. 29, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State cross country begins its 2014 campaign this Saturday, August 29, at the Dayton Flyer 5k Challenge in Kettering, Ohio.
The men’s 5k race starts at 10:45 a.m., followed by the women’s 5k at 11:15 a.m. A complete recap will be available following the race at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
Cleveland State (women only)
Ohio State will bring 10 athletes to Dayton on the men’s side, including five freshmen. The OSU women will send the majority of the roster.
What’s New for 2014?
Ohio State begins its first season under the leadership of newly-appointed director of track and field and cross country Karen Dennis. Dennis is entering her 13th year overall at Ohio State, the last eight spent as track and field/cross country head coach for the Buckeye women.
Associate head coach Brice Allen and assistant coach Sara Vergote will share coaching responsibilities for cross country. Allen, entering his third season, will work primarily with the men’s team, while Vergote, in her second season, will focus on the women’s side.
The Buckeye men welcome five freshmen and two transfers to the roster. Nick Elswick, a native of Chardon, Ohio, highlights the class. Elswick was the 2014 OHSAA Division I state champion in the 3200-meter run during the track season, a fourth-place finisher at the 2013 OHSAA DI Cross Country Championships and Top-30 performer at 2012 Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships.
Other newcomers include freshmen Kevin Blank (Solon, Ohio), Clayton Bowie (Indianapolis, Ind.), Mitch Leitch (Columbus, Ohio) and Jake Mandel (Columbus, Ohio), as well as sophomore Patrick Kunkel (McDonald, Ohio/University of San Francisco) and redshirt sophomore Adrian Ross (Waverly, Ohio/North Carolina State University).
Five freshmen join the women’s squad: Courtney Clody (Perrysburg, Ohio), Christine Frederick (Cincinnati, Ohio), Erin Gyurke (Oregon, Ohio), Molly Pusateri (Louisville, Ohio) and Olivia Smith (Tiffin, Ohio). Frederick placed fourth at the 2013 OHSAA DI Cross Country Championships, while Gyurke is a four-time competitor at the state championships with a high placement of eighth in 2012.
The Buckeye women feature an experienced side fresh off a fifth-place finish at the Big Ten championships, the squads’ best finish at the conference meet in 29 years. Ohio State features a pair of senior stars in Katie Borchers and Michelle Thomas, who both earned First Team All-Big Ten and All-Great Lakes honors in 2013. Borchers competed as an individual at the NCAA championships, becoming the first-ever Buckeye to earn First Team All-America recognition with a 40th-place finish.
Ohio State welcomes back the bulk of its men’s roster from last season’s seventh-place finish at the Great Lakes regional and eighth-place performance at the Big Ten championships. Juniors Nick Pupino and Jordan Redd are the top returners for the Buckeyes. Pupino was an All-Great Lakes selection and the top runner at the conference meet, while Redd was the first finisher for OSU at a total of four events.
Buckeyes Ranked Sixth in Great Lakes Regional Rankings
The Buckeye men and women were both ranked sixth in the preseason Great Lakes regional rankings by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
On the men’s side, sixth-ranked Indiana is the top-ranked team in the region, followed by No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 22 Michigan, Butler (RV), Michigan State (RV) and the Buckeyes.
Michigan checks-in at No. 1 both nationally and regionally on the women’s side. Sixth-ranked Michigan State is second in the region, followed by No. 12 Butler, No. 16 Wisconsin, Toledo (RV) and Ohio State.
Ohio State has a week off before traveling to Lexington, Ky., for the Bluegrass Invitational Sept. 13.