Men’s team finishes last for second straight year

Brad Frank and Brad Frank

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of getting people to step up.

The BG men’s cross country team just didn’t get enough of that Saturday at the Mid-American Conference Championship meet.

BG placed last for the second consecutive season, and the team’s average time was more than one minute higher than Akron, which finished one spot ahead of BG in eighth place.

‘Certainly as a team we could have done much better, and individually we had a couple runners who stood out and had some decent races,’ said coach Cami Wells. ‘But overall, it certainly wasn’t what we were looking for.’

The team came into the meet with a goal of finishing better than last season, and despite a lot of marked improvement throughout the season, the team ultimately did not perform at the level it needed to improve its finish.

‘They have to start to see themselves as a team that can compete out there,’ Wells said. ‘There’s some very strong teams in the conference and certainly some very gifted runners, but we have some athletes on our team who can compete at that level.’

Kent State won the meet with 30 team points. Individual champion Aiman Scullion was one of four Golden Flashes to finish in the top 10.

BG hasn’t recorded a top-five finish since its most recent team championship in 1995.

Chris Moody led BG with a time of 27:53, his best time of the season. Jason Salyer finished 56th after a slow start.

Jesse Smuda gave a strong effort with a time of 28:53, finishing 58th overall. Wells had high praises for Smuda.

‘[Jesse Smuda] works extremely hard. I certainly respect that he puts forth that type of effort every time,’ Wells said.

Ben Leininger finished fourth for BG with a time of 29:27.

Wells commended his efforts Saturday despite the disappointing team performance. She told him that he needed to be a factor for the team, and he was, with a top five place on the team for just the second time this season.

The team has this weekend off before it is scheduled to compete at the Great Lakes Regional later this month.’