Men’s cross country to run as individuals at Regionals after Smuda suffers illness

Brad Frank and Brad Frank

The BG men’s cross country team will not record a team score tomorrow at the Great Lakes Region Meet because their fifth runner is suffering an illness.

Chris Moody, Jason Salyer, Johnstone Kirui, and Ben Leininger will be the four Falcons to race tomorrow, but Jesse Smuda will not participate. As a result, BG will record four individual finishes but not a team score, as five runners are needed to place as a team.

After BG finished last at the Mid-American Conference Championships earlier this month, coach Cami Wells said she had to make a decision whether to bring the entire team or certain individuals to the regional meet.

Wells was happy with the improvement the rest of the team made this season but felt that certain runners were more suited for the type of competition at the regional meet.

‘The men racing [tomorrow] have trained and raced consistently, and they have earned the right to compete at this meet,’ Wells said. ‘We will use this regional meet to gain valuable experience for the future.’

The team’s biggest accomplishment this season was being consistent, Wells said.

‘The way they have stepped up as a team to really be much more consistent in practice and made progress in their team racing,’ she said. ‘We still have a ways to go to reach our ultimate goals, but I am very pleased with the progress they have made as a team.’

The meet tomorrow will be the men’s first 10K of the season. Wells said there are some added challenges with the longer race.

‘It is a different race than the 8K; it requires even more commitment to proper pacing and more focus and endurance to succeed,’ she said.

The team has run 8K races all season with the exception of the 5K dual meet at Toledo in early September.

Four MAC schools are ranked in the top 15 in the region, including the conference champion, Kent State, which is ranked ninth.

BG will be facing tough competition tomorrow in yet another talented field.

‘The field is a high quality field featuring many teams we have raced against this season as well as several that we have not seen yet,’ Wells said.

The meet begins at noon in Bloomington, Ind., hosted by Indiana University.