Distance runners show promise with experience

The BG men’s cross country team made many additions to its roster this year.

The Falcons are looking at their best preseason team since Cami Wells began coaching six years ago, according to her. The team has seven incoming freshmen looking to shake things up and bring the Falcons to the head of the pack.

Max Group, from Beavercreek High School, is a pure long distance runner, turning in solid times in the 5K and 10K at 16:25 and 34:33, respectively.

“Max is doing great,” Wells said. “He’s worked hard all summer and is in great shape. I’ve been happy with what he’s done, and I look forward to seeing him race.”

The Falcons picked up yet another Eldoret, Kenya, native this summer with Johnstone Kirui. Kirui has turned in good times in all events, including a 24:46 in the 8K and a 3:53 in the 1500.

Wells says he is still adjusting to life here, arriving just last week, but is already showing improvement. Wells looks for him to be a top-four runner and major contributor to their success this season.

Chris Moody of Davidsonville, Md., is another freshman coming in with solid times from high school, including a 4:25.62 mile. He is recovering from a leg injury which he sustained running track last spring, but is expected to do well this year.

Eric Lutton, a transfer from Owens Community College, is getting used to being back on a team again after a hiatus of two years. He has been running in road races and open meets since high school and is prepared to make an impact at Bowling Green.

Additional freshmen include Jeff Ehler, of Lasalle High School in Cincinnatti, and Jesse Smuda, of Patrick Henry High School in Hamler, Ohio.

John Bernard, of Worthington, Ohio, looks to return to competition after red-shirting last season to fully prepare for this year. Wells hopes he can help to “push the pack” this year.

Aaron Smuda, Jesse’s older brother and former top-seven runner for the Falcons, is returning to Bowling Green after transferring to school in Michigan in 2006 for academic reasons.

Eddie Kipchoge is also returning, hoping to improve on last year’s already outstanding performances and make it to the national cross country meet. Kipchoge is already looking better than last year by leaps and bounds and is in “tremendous shape,” according to Wells.

Brad Wells, a transfer from University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky, is returning for his senior season and is expecting big things for himself. He is looking forward to the meet at Louisville later in the season, where he has experienced running while at Cumberland.

“Brad’s in pretty good shape,” Wells said. “He wants to make All-Conference, and he certainly has the ability to do it.”

The overall team goals for the Falcons this year are to move up in the Mid-American Conference. With their young team and their potential, they certainly have the capability to do so.