November 9, 2016

XC: Buckeyes Venture up North for Great Lakes Regional

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Nov. 9, 2016

Great Lakes Regional Central

Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country team will head to Madison, Wis., on Friday for the Great Lakes Regional; this will be the fifth-straight year the Great Lakes Regional will be hosted at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course.

The women’s race will start at 1 p.m. ET, followed by the men’s at 2 p.m. The women will stay the same with their 6k distance, but the men will run a 10k race for the first time this season. Live results will be provided here and fans are encouraged to follow along via the USTFCCCA’s National Results Wall.

On Friday, nine regionals around the country will take place with teams looking to clinch a spot at the NCAA Championships. The top two teams from each regional will automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships leaving only 13 at-large spots. The final 13 spots will be filled by a process that involves regular season performance as well as a team’s placing at regionals.

In addition to those 31 teams, 38 individuals per gender not on NCAA-qualifying teams, will be selected to compete as individuals. The top-four finishers, at each regional, not on a team advancing will be chosen to compete at the NCAA Championships, but the individual must finish inside the top 25 at his or her regional.

Women’s Preview

The Scarlet and Gray (RV) are ranked fifth in the latest Great Lakes poll behind No. 5 Michigan, No. 13 Eastern Michigan, No. 14 Notre Dame and No. 22 Michigan State. The Buckeyes have not entered the USTFCCCA top-30 poll all season long, but with a strong performance Friday, they could make that jump at the most important part of the season.

The duo of Sarah Kanney and Emily Stoodley will need to replicate their performance from the Big Ten Championships. Kanney and Stoodley paced each other the whole race at Big Ten’s and finished seven seconds apart. Stoodley has experience on this course, she was one of only two Buckeyes to run this event last year.

Christine Frederick has slowly been working her way back up to the top of the team as Ohio State has delved deeper into the fall. Frederick, a junior, was the second Buckeye to finish at the 2015 Great Lakes with a 6k time of 21:29.8, and most recently, she placed 26th at the Big Ten Championships two weeks ago.

Lilly Saniel-Banrey and Rachel Weber have been key contributors down the stretch on a team loaded with underclassmen; Abby Nichols, Lainey Studebaker, Jessica Passwater and Devon Leahy have all scored for the Buckeyes this fall.

Men’s Preview

The Buckeyes come into the Great Lakes ranked seventh in the region. Five of the teams ahead of Ohio State are ranked: No. 14 Wisconsin, No. 18 Michigan State, No. 21 Indiana, No. 25 Eastern Michigan and No. 29 Michigan. The last time the men qualified for the NCAA Championships as a team was in 2011.

Evan Stifel, the unquestioned leader for Ohio State, has now been the top-finisher for the Buckeyes at seven-consecutive races. Last season at the Great Lakes, Stifel battled to a 30th-place showing with a personal record 10k time of 31:29.5. Stifel was named a First Team All-Big Ten honoree after finishing seventh two weeks ago at the Big Ten Championships.

The two through five runners at the Big Ten Championships ran with a gap of only 13 seconds, but were too far off the pace of Stifel to make it count. If runners such as Jake Mandel, Luke Landis, Alex Lomong and others can implement that same tactic, but stay a little closer to Stifel, Ohio State could be in business.