By Arthur Lewis/Assistant sports editor
Last Saturday the Eastern crosscountry teams both came in second place at the 23rd Old Timers Classic in Bowling Green, Ky.The Western Kentucky course proved to be a challenging one, with numerous hills and steep terrain. However, the Colonels rose to the occasion to beat Western in their version of “Battle of the Bluegrass.” Eastern’s men and women surpassed both Western Kentucky teams, which finished third.
University of Alabama Birmingham took the top spot for the women’s 5k run while the University of Tennessee was first for the men’s five-mile run.
The Lady Colonels had seven of their top finishers in the top-22 places.
Senior Wendee Embry paved the way for the Colonels with a time of seventeen minutes and fifty seconds, finishing third place. This week, Embry was named OVC Female Athlete-of-the Week for the second week in a row.
Freshman Katy Ankrom surged into seventh with a time of 18:07, and junior Erica Nichols followed shortly behind her with a time of 18:25, capturing 10th place.
“Its exciting to see everyone getting better,” senior runner Wendee Embry said. “It makes you realize that the hard work is paying off.”
Junior Steve Maina finished in 10th place with a time of 25:53. Junior James Machungo finished a few spots behind him with a 13th place time of 26:22. Freshman Jacob Fortney placed 14th with a time of 26:29.
“It was a good meet for me,” Fortney said.
Although they finished second, head coach Rick Erdmann saw a lot of room for improvement.
Steve Maina considered the beginning of the race to be the most critical for the Colonels bid for first place.
“We didn’t keep up with the fast pace that Tennessee set,” Maina said.
Erdmann felt as if the team could have faired better in the meet.
“I was disappointed with our ability to compete mentally with Tennessee,” Erdmann said.
Although Eastern’s next meet is nearly two weeks away, they are training even harder.
“This week is probably the hardest practice we’ve had,” Fortney said.
Eastern’s competition doesn’t get any easier for the next race. Its next meet is Oct. 1 at the University of Tennessee.
Erdmann said that Tennessee was ranked in the top five in preseason polls in the SEC.
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