Motivated men’s team now looking ahead to Mid-American Conference championships

Brad Frank and Brad Frank

Motivation in sports can come from a variety of sources.

For BG’s men’s cross country team, a disappointing 11th-place finish Saturday at the 8K Falcon Invite will serve as their motivation heading into the Mid-American Conference Championships in two weeks.

BG had some momentum carrying over from the All-Ohio Championships two weeks ago, but now the Falcons must rebound and use Saturday’s meet as motivation to improve on its 2008 last-place finish at the MAC Championships.

Fellow MAC members Kent State and Akron were late additions to the field because their meet Friday at Penn State was canceled due to snow.

Kent State won the race with five runners in the top 15. Eastern Michigan placed fourth, and Akron placed eighth.

Chris Moody finished 34th overall with a time of 25:57. The junior has led BG in every meet this season. Freshman Jason Salyer placed 42nd and has placed second on the team in every meet.

Jesse Smuda recorded an 8K personal best with a time of 26:40, which was good enough for 61st.

‘Jesse Smuda continues to improve throughout the season,’ said coach Cami Wells. ‘He’s been really consistent for us in our three spot and was closer to our top two runners [Saturday].’

Wells thought a finish outside of the top-half of the field was disappointing though.

‘With the men’s team overall that was certainly not one of our better team performances,’ she said. ‘We didn’t step up to the challenge and put forth our best effort [Saturday].’

The field was tough and the weather wasn’t ideal with cold temperatures and some wind. But, as Wells noted, BG has faced a lot of tough competition all season and still survived.

‘There was good competition [Saturday] but there has been all year,’ she said. ‘So that was disappointing not to take advantage of our opportunities.’

Coming off of the All-Ohio Championships two weeks ago, Wells wanted to see some improvement from the team behind its top three runners.

BG did make steps in the right direction there, but aside from Smuda, Wells said the team lacked aggression overall.

‘There was some improvement. Certainly there’s some things we need to work on to make the improvements,’ Wells said. ‘That doesn’t negate all the hard work they’ve put into the season.’

Heading into the MAC Championships at the end of the month, Wells wants the team to return to what it looked like at the All-Ohio Championships.

‘They just have to be more aggressive in the race and stay stronger all the way throughout.’

BG will compete in the MAC Championships, hosted by Ohio University, on Oct. 31.

Times from the Falcon Invite:

*Chris Moody 25:57 *Jason Salyer 26:07 *Jesse Smuda 26:40 *Johnstone Kirui 27:15 *Ben Leininger 27:42 *Abraham Busienei 27:49 *Peter Miles 28:08 *John Bernard 28:09 *Jeff Ehler 28:32 *Erik Kuehner 30:49