WEEKEND ROUNDUP: Conference Championships Weekend (Spring XC – Part I)

Here is our growing recap of Conference Championship Weekend in cross country.

We saw action in both the Big Ten and Conference Carolinas this weekend.

2021 Big Ten Cross Country Championships (Spring)

Final Standings

Men’s Team
Score
Women’s Team
Score
No. 12 Wisconsin
40
No. 9 Michigan State
48
No. 19 Indiana
51
No. 12 Minnesota
76
No. 22 Purdue
97
No. 17 Illinios
79
Michigan State
97
No. 16 Indiana
101
Nebraska
117
Ohio State
110

Men’s Recap

Zero-point-six seconds.

That’s what decided the individual champion.

Eleven points.

That’s what decided the team champion.

It doesn’t get much closer than what we saw on Saturday in the Men’s 8K at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships in Shelbyville, Indiana.

George Kusche of Nebraska nipped Jonathan Davis of Illinois at the finish line to capture the individual title, 24:01.2 to 24:01.8. Davis was actually more than eight seconds back with 1K to go before unleashing a furious kick that saw him nearly pull out the victory.

No. 12 Wisconsin made a big move in the final 1K as well to notch its 51st conference title in program history. The Badgers went from five points behind No. 19 Indiana at 7K to up 11 over those same Hoosiers at the finish for the closest margin of victory at the meet since 1999.

Wisconsin put three runners in the top-10 and its entire scoring lineup in the top-15. Rowan Ellenberg was the top finisher for the Badgers in third place, while Jackson Sharp and Charlie Wheeler also finished in the top-10 at fourth and sixth, respectively.

Indiana also had all of its scorers in the top-15, but couldn’t match Wisconsin’s might. Ben Veatch (eighth), Matthew Schadler (ninth), Jake Gebhardt (1oth) and Arjun Jha (11th) all finished in a pack with Skylar Stidam (13th) right behind them.

No. 22 Purdue took third as a team, followed by Michigan State and Nebraska.

Women’s Recap

Michigan State put on a masterclass racing performance on Saturday in the Women’s 6K at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships in Shelbyville, Indiana.

The ninth-ranked Spartans, who entered the meet as the defending champion from 2019 and the top-ranked team in the field after No. 6 Michigan couldn’t compete, held steady through 3K and then attacked. Michigan State blitzed through the pack in the second half of the race on their way to a dominant 28-point victory over No. 12 Minnesota, 48-76.

Four of the five Spartans who scored ended up in the top-15, while the other was painstakingly close: Jenna Magness and India Johnson finished third and fourth, respectively; Lynsie Green finished right outside of the top-10 in 11th; Makayla Perez and Katie Osika danced on opposite sides of the top-15 with Perez in 14th and Osika in 16th.

The Gophers were led by Bethany Hasz, who captured the program’s second individual title in meet history (Eileen Donaghy, 1987). Hasz covered the 6K course in 20:13.12 – a full two seconds ahead of runner-up Bailey Hertenstein of Indiana. Abby Kohut-Jackson joined Hasz in the top-10 at No. 8, but they were the only two Minnesota athletes in the top-15.

No. 17 Illinois took third in the team standings, while No. 16 Indiana and Ohio State rounded out the top-5. It has been quite the rise for the Illini, as they finished 13th in 2017, 12th in 2018 and tied for fifth place last year before recording its best finish since 2009 today.

2021 Conference Carolinas Cross Country Championships (Spring)

Emmanuel (Ga.) claimed a sweep of the team titles at the Conference Carolinas Cross Country Championships on Friday afternoon at Frank Liske Park in Concord, North Carolina.

In doing so, the men and women each won their first Conference Carolinas championship titles in program history since joining the conference in 2018-19.

Emmanuel (Ga.) earned the men’s title with 42 points. The Lions placed three men within the top-10, led by runner-up Shane Shelafoe (15:59.5) and third place Ethan Hargrove (16:26.9). Griffin Stephens (16:53.8) claimed a ninth place finish, while Demarco Hernandez (12th, 17:07.1) and Alexander Andrade-Sosa (16th, 17:20.1) completed the win.

King finished in second place with 74 points. There was a tie for third place between Lees-McRae and Mount Olive with 85 points a piece; however, the tie-breaker went in favor of the Bobcats.

In the women’s race, Emmanuel (Ga.) placed all five runners in the top-20 to contribute to their 64 point total. The Lions were led by Sarah Green (20:50.7) and Alexa Quarles (20:56.3) with their fifth and sixth place finishes, respectively. Taylor Farmer (17th, 22:01.4), Briannah Henry (19th, 22:06.8) and Ashley Ledgerwood (20th, 22:09.2) were the next batch of Lion runners to finish and close out the victory.

The Lions finished over second-place King (77), with North Greenville finishing one-point behind in third (78).

Cas Kopmels of Mount Olive and Lizzie Naval from Erskine took home their respective gender’s individual titles. Kopmels won the men’s title in 15:32.4 for a convincing win by 27 seconds. Naval took home the women’s crown by nearly 15 seconds in 19:58.3.