Cross-Country Over the Moon After Otterbein Meet
The Oberlin cross-country teams continued their sensational preseason form in the Otterbein Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 23. The women finished first for the second straight meet, while the men claimed fourth. Both teams had standout performances from their top runners. Senior captain Travis Grout came in first overall, while sophomore Maddy Davis-Hayes finished second.
The Yeowomen’s recent performances have not gone unnoticed. They are currently ranked 33rd in the nation, according to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. They entered Saturday’s meet on a high after finishing first at the GLCA Championship at Earlham two weeks ago.
The entire women’s team ran the 6k race consistently. Nine runners finished in the top 30. Behind Davis-Hayes’ strong time of 23:25 came junior Marie Barnett, senior Ariane Burwell and junior Alison Doniger who finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, while sophomore Flannery Cerbin became the fifth and final scorer at 13th place.
Sophomore Nicky Ouellet, who finished 21st, was glad to see that the poor running conditions did not affect Oberlin too much. “Otterbein was just so wet and so muddy. We basically had to run through a lake in the first 100 meters of the race. We ran really well though. It was a fun meet.”
The Yeowomen dominated the 10-team meet. The team’s nearest opponent, Mt. Union College, finished 47 points behind Oberlin, who finished with a total of 30 points. The team’s strong race will build confidence as they head into a string of important meets, including the conference championships. Ouellet points to recent results against Denison as reason to believe they can go far this year. “We beat Denison twice now and they were the only team we didn’t beat last year.”
The men’s cross-country team had a very solid race, with its five scorers finishing in the top 30. Grout overpowered the competition, finishing the 8k race with a time of 26.35, an astonishing 16 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor in the 152-runner race. Sophomore Conor Doss finished 17th with a time of 27.39, followed by seniors Matthew Ferris-Smith and John Shaw at 22 and 23, respectively. Junior Andrew Higgins was the final Oberlin runner to be scored, coming in at 28th with a time of 28.08.
Grout’s run not only helped Oberlin come in fourth out of 12 teams, but it earned him the North Coast Athletic Conference’s Athlete of the Week.
There is a good spirit in the cross-country camp, too. Not only are they running well, but as Ouellet said, they are enjoying themselves. She also explained how both teams provide each other with lots of support. “We have such a community on cross-country. John Shaw made an Oberlin flag, and we wave it around for support during the race.”
The cross-country teams will not rest on their laurels, however. Ouellet said that everyone, depending on their current form, is running around 30-50 miles a week. “Workouts are still pretty long. We don’t taper off until two weeks before conference.”
With the All-Ohio Championships next week, followed by Oberlin’s only home meet of the season and then the Conference championships, Ouellet is looking forward to both teams to continue their strong performances. “We look really strong. It is exciting to be on a team this good. It’s a cool period to be here. It’s like we are becoming a powerhouse.”
Both teams will race in the All-Ohio Championships at Ohio Wesleyan on Oct. 6 at 2:30 p.m.