CLEVELAND, OHIO — The Hiram College cross country teams were chosen to finish ninth and 10th in the North Coast Athletic Conference Preseason Poll. The Terrier women recorded nine points to place ninth while the men had 10 points to place 10th.
Allegheny (Pa.) College was tabbed as the favorite in the women’s poll tallying 72 points and four first-place votes. Kenyon College was second with 67 points and two first-place votes while Oberlin College rounded out the top three with 66 points and two first-place votes. Ohio Wesleyan University also received a first-place vote and was picked fourth overall with 65 points.
The Hiram women will look to improve upon a 10th place finish in last season’s NCAC Championship Meet, but will have to do so with a significant amount of youth and first-time competitors this fall. The Terriers do return six letterwinners in 2008, but will have no seniors on the team. The team will be led by Junior duo Katie Eppley (Stow) and Ashlee Wolfgang (Warren/Lordstown). Last season, Eppley competed in six events with a top time of 24:09 which she recorded at the Penn State-Behrend Invitational. Wolfgang competed in four events with a season-best time of 26:22 also at the PSU-Behrend Invitational.
Joining Eppley and Wolfgang will be a host of sophomores in Kelly Blon (Jefferson/Jefferson Area), Meghen Broman (Akron/Ellet), Holly Finzel (Burton/Berkshire) and Ella Maloney (Columbus/The Graham School).
On the men’s side, Allegheny was the clear favorite receiving all 10 first-place votes and recording 100 points. OWU was second with 79 points followed by Oberlin with 74 points.
The HIram men will have the most first-time competitors as just two runners from last season’s team return in 2008. Junior and two-year letterwinner Kent Vasko (Newbury) will look to lead the men as he posted three top individual times for the team last fall. His best 8k performance came at the PSU-Behrend Invitational where he placed first amongst the team and 39th overall (out of 100 runners) with a time of 30:01.
Also returning is sophomore Nicholas Michalenko (Moon Township, Pa./Our Lady of Sacred Heart) who combined with Vasko to make up the top-two runner tandem for Hiram in 2007. He recorded five top performances amongst the team with a season-best time of 30:07 at the NCAC Championships.
“We look to have a strong season,” said fourth-year Head Coach Earl Kissell. “We’ll have a lot of first-year competitors on both teams, but we should have the ability to compete at a high level at all of our meets.
The cross country teams will begin the 2008 season on Friday, Aug. 29 at the College of Wooster Invitational in Wooster. The event is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact Hiram College Sports Information Director Jeff Hoedt by phone at (330) 569-5495, by FAX at (330) 569-5392 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.