PAINESVILLE, OHIO -- The Lake Erie College men's and women's cross country teams returned to the course for the first time in three weeks on Saturday (Oct. 23), running against Tiffin University in an unscored 5,000-meter tune-up for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championships on Nov. 6.
"This race really served its purpose in terms of getting us back into a competitive setting," said head coach Bryan Harmon. "Our schedule is set up to allow us to train hard and really prepare for the conference meet and then the regional meet on Nov. 20. While we are training hard and getting good results at practice, at some point you need to get back into 'race mode' and I thought our kids did a good job of that."
While the main purpose of the race was prepatory, there were some impressive results, as the Storm more than held their own against the 22nd-ranked Dragons. Sophomore Cody Lancaster (Eastlake, Ohio/Eastlake North) set the men's school record in the 5K, recording the fourth fastest time on the day at 16:01, just seconds behind Tiffin's top three. In addition, freshman Nick Clad (Eastlake, Ohio/Eastlake North) finished the course in 16:50 sand sophomore Craig Gerber (Fremont, Ohio/Clyde) was just behind him at 16:51.
"Cody's performance really stands out because it gives us confidence not only going into the conference and regional meets, but also into the indoor track season," said Harmon. "Nick went out and beat three Tiffin runners that finished ahead of him in the season opener and Craig was right behind him, and he beat five guys who were better than him at the beginning of the year. They've had some great workouts over the last three weeks and it is starting to show in their performance."
On the women's side, junior Allison Wright (Columbus, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) once again led the way, finishing the course in 21:27, while sophomore Leah Jones (Maple Heights, Ohio/Maple Heights) was right behind her at 21:35, just a few seconds removed from her personal best.
"Leah being that close to Allison was the biggest thing that stuck out to me," Harmon noted. "If you look at the results, the course Saturday ran about 30 seconds slower than the ladies' PR's, but Leah was only nine seconds off hers. The closer she is to Leah at the conference and regional meets, the better we will score as a team."
Sophomore Sammie Smith (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) and freshman Shanita Fluker (Flint, Mich./Southwestern) also ran well, finishing in 21:40 and 21:44, respectively.
The Storm will have one more week of training before heading to Hillsdale, Mich. to compete in its first conference championship meet.