Cross Country team small in numbers, but remain mighty

Matthew Butcher, Reporter

After a four-meet stretch where every runner set new personal bests, the Ashland University cross country team is entering the final stretch of their regular season schedule.

On the men’s side, they recorded second, fifth, and seventh place finishes out of six, 11, and 20, respectively.

Leading the men is senior Ian Johnson, who holds a 25:38.6 personal best in the eight-kilometer race.

“I think for me and the team both, we started out a little slower than we wanted the first meet, and over the last two we’ve seen improvements across the board,” Johnson said. “Last weekend was our best showing yet and I think we will continue to see that trend.”

Currently, the team has their eyes on making progress for the conference and regional meets, where they have undisclosed goals to meet that were made in a preseason meeting.

“I would say right now, things are going to plan,” Johnson said. “We still have a few pieces that are working…. I have no doubt that when it’s time for the championships, we’ll be ready to go.”

As for the women, they are led by senior Abby Moser, who’s personal best currently sits at 22:27.4 in the six-kilometer race.

“We don’t have a very big team, but we’ve been scoring pretty well,” Moser said. “We placed second in our first meet as a team, which is pretty cool…. In Pennsylvania (at the Lock Haven Open/Invitational) we scored 12 out of 22 teams, so for five girls, we’re tiny, but mighty.”

The biggest obstacle the women currently face as a team comes down to having enough women to run. Rostering seven runners compared to the men’s 15, injuries and COVID-19 pose a major, structural threat to the women’s team. However, they persevere.

“We’re dropping times, we’re looking good at workouts,” Moser said. “Sometimes we do the same workouts, and our times and splits are getting faster, so it’s hard to imagine that we’re not working towards our goals by now, as a team.”

“As a squad, we are confident we can achieve our goals,” head coach Jacob Sussman said. “The drive of the team has been our biggest benefit so far.”

The teams will run again in the Lewis Crossover and the JennaStrong Fall Classic in Romeoville, IL, and Wilmington, OH, on Oct. 9 and 15, respectively.

Senior Abby Moser runs the 6K. At the Tiffelberg Open, Moser finished in third place. (AU ATHLETICS)