By Maggie LaFleur

Both the men and women’s cross-country teams hold a distinction no other team in the Ohio Valley Conference holds; they are regionally ranked. Both teams out ran Marshall on September 4.

The men made the biggest splash jumping seven spots, from 15th to eighth, in the Southeast region. Eastern jumped ahead of Kentucky, who’s ranked 11th and sit right behind Louisville (ranked sixth). The women held their place in the top ten, sitting at number nine.

The Colonels’ head to Western Kentucky compete in the WKU Old Timer’s Classic in Bowling Green.

The men have been competing in this event since its inception in 1981, winning last year. The women’s team, however, didn’t compete in the event last year, instead choosing to race in the Vanderbilt Invitational, which was hosted by Tennessee State University.

“I wanted the girls to have a chance to run this course in order to give them every advantage,” Coach Erdmann said.

The decision paid dividends for the team. Out of 20 teams in the competition, the Colonels took second place. They beat teams such as Georgia Southern and Valparaiso. In addition, they bested two regional foes in Tennessee State and Morehead State.

Marshall and Austin Peay are two other schools that attend Saturday’s invitational. Although the Colonels will try to outrun Marshall for a second time, Western Kentucky will be the main target for the teams, Erdmann said.

The Colonels have one main strategy for the meet: togetherness.

“I want our guys to run as close together as possible for the first few miles,” Erdmann said. “This is our main strategy in preparing and practicing for this event. In addition, it was the one glaring weakness from last year’s classic.”

Erdmann said that team spirit is so important in a sport like cross country, where individual performances, while important, don’t matter much if the rest of the team doesn’t also perform well.

“We concentrate on the team,” Coach Erdmann said. “That is how we win or lose as a team.