Zips distance themselves from field

“The University of Akron cross country team swept through the competition at the Tommy Evans Invitational in Akron, Saturday. The men and women both finished in first place with the men placing seven runners in the top nine in the four-mile run and the women taking the top eight spots in the 5K race.”

The University of Akron cross country team swept through the competition at the Tommy Evans Invitational in Akron, Saturday.

The men and women both finished in first place with the men placing seven runners in the top nine in the four-mile run and the women taking the top eight spots in the 5K race.

The men scored 19 points en route to their victory and the women scored 15, besting Mount Union, Buffalo and Youngstown State.

The victories set the tone for the 2007 season.

This win gives us a lot of confidence, said women’s head coach Scott Jones. We know we can do the things we wanted to do (this season).

The Zips’ men’s squad was led by senior Jason Headman and his 20 minutes 14 seconds first-place performance.

Mount Union’s Kyle Batista finished 15 seconds after Headman and UA senior Ricky Weisheimer finished third.

Headman averaged 5:11 per mile on the four-mile course at Firestone Park and his time was the second best ever at Firestone.

His run was the best overall time by a UA runner in team history at the course.

Jones, in his 11th year at Akron, said the training and preparation each runner goes through is the key to the team’s success.

It’s a long process, Jones said. Their training accumulates over time and the end result shows during meets.

The end results were shown Saturday. Jones said that, on paper, it is the best squad with which the Zips have begun a season.

With where we are right now, this could be the best team that Akron has had, ever, Jones said.

Other UA runners finishing in the top five included freshman Andy Morgan (4) and senior Craig Rupe (5).

For the women, sophomore Larisa Arcip beat teammate Sediah Erskine by two seconds, finishing with a first-place time of 19:08.

It was a dominating performance for the UA women’s squad.

In the 2006 Tommy Evans Invitational, the women placed six runners in the top 10 but the 2007 women’s squad finished even stronger, claiming the top eight spots of the competition with nine runners finishing in under 20 minutes.

Freshman Kim Lorentz (3), junior Colleen Moran (4) and sophomore Heidi Gross (5) rounded out the top five.

The Tommy Evans Invitational is the only home meet for the Zips on their five meet schedules that conclude with the men running in the Penn State National Invitational Oct. 12 in State College, Pa. and the women at the Indiana State Pre-Nationals Oct 13. at Terre Haute, Ind.

The opening win was a confidence boost, but coach Jones knows there is still work to be done.

In cross country, we are judged more at the end of the season and we know we aren’t there yet, he said.

And where the Zips want to be is in the winners circle at the MAC Championships in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. to secure the first leg of the Triple Crown.

The Triple Crown consists of a cross country, indoor and outdoor MAC Championships all in the same season, an accomplishment the UA women earned in the 2005-06 season.

No other women’s team has won the Triple Crown in MAC history.

Jones said the cross country season sets the tone for the track and field season and it is very important to the cross country team to start the year off right by securing the first installment of the Triple Crown.

The MAC Championship is always the goal for us, Jones said. We are the group that kicks things off and we want to achieve our goals.

The Zips will travel to South Bend, Ind. for the Notre Dame Invitational Friday Sept. 28.


” #1.1361872:3255575170.JPG:DSCF4342.JPG:Third place finisher Ricky Weisheimer leads Buffalo’s Jason Ayr and teammate Andy Morgan at the Tommy Evans Invitational.:Wes Boettner / The Buchtelite”