Moody, Salyer find success as season comes to close

Brad Frank and Brad Frank

In the final meet of the season, four runners represented the entire men’s cross country team very well.

BG sent just four individuals to the Great Lakes Region Meet on Saturday. Originally the plan was to send five, but Jesse Smuda couldn’t race because of illness.

The Falcons couldn’t record a team score without the fifth runner, but the individuals gained some valuable experience at their only 10K race of the season.

‘I am really proud of them for staying focused and sticking to the game plan despite the fact that they found out Thursday we would not be racing a full team due to Jesse’s illness,’ said coach Cami Wells. ‘I was also really proud of the men for bouncing back after the MAC meet and going out there [Saturday] and getting it done with some very solid racing to finish off the season.’

Chris Moody led BG again, finishing in 106th place with a time of 33:41. The junior finished first for BG in all seven meets this season.

‘Chris Moody ran a strong race start to finish and really redeemed himself after the [Mid-American Conference] meet race,’ Wells said. ‘Chris has worked incredibly hard this year and over the last three years to get to where he is now, so I was pleased to see him rise to the level of competition and compete well this final race.’

Jason Salyer placed second for BG and just 28 seconds behind Moody. The freshman placed second for BG in every meet this season.

‘Jason Salyer ran a very aggressive race, going out faster than he has all year, and he really fought hard and had a very solid finish in a quality field in his first ever 10K. It says a lot about Jason and his mental and physical strength as a true freshman in the field,’ Wells said. ‘Jason has a very bright future and the mentality and work ethic to continue to get it done year to year.’

Johnstone Kirui and Ben Leininger finished third and fourth, respectively, for the Falcons. Wells believes the experience the team members gained from its first 10K will serve the team well in the future.

‘Johnstone Kirui has become much more consistent as a runner, and his race showed that yesterday; he ran a much more balanced race in his first 10K race and he now is ready to train in the offseason to prepare to run with Chris and Jason next fall,’ she said. ‘I felt [Ben] really ran a solid race and most importantly gained valuable experience and confidence for the future.’

The men’s team made tremendous improvement overall this season. The highlight of the season came at the All-Ohio Championships. The team placed 15th, improving 12 spots from 2008. Every runner set a personal record at the 5K Toledo dual in the first meet of the season, and many would go on to break personal records in 8K events.

‘I am very pleased with the progress the team made this year; we know we still have a long way to go to reach our ultimate goals but we are chipping away at it every day, and that is what it takes to get there,’ Wells said. ‘I am working on getting some good solid recruits to join the current squad, but the main focus is to continue to get the most we can out of each man and to continue to grow as a team for the future.’

Every runner returns for BG next season with the exception of John Bernard. Wells said he was a very strong leader for the team this season and will be missed when everyone returns next season. ‘