Times Staff Report
November 1, 2013
MOREHEAD - The Morehead State University Cross Country program will serve as the host for the Ohio Valley Conference Championships Saturday at Eagle Trace Golf Course.
The men’s 8K race is set for 10:45 a.m., while the women’s 5K race is scheduled to kick off at 11:45 a.m. Live results will be available on MSUEagles.com and OVCSports.com. There is no charge for admission.
“We are excited to be hosting the OVC Championships for the first time since 2002,” Head Coach Brent Ericksen said. “Eagle Trace Golf Course is a great venue to host a championship event, and our team is looking forward to running in front of our home crowd.”
This is just the fifth time since 1980 that Morehead State has served as host of the races.
“Overall, it is really impressive how much stronger the OVC has gotten in the sports of cross country and track over the past few years,” Ericksen added. “It is a great opportunity for the community to see some very talented runners from across the United States and around the world compete for a conference championship.”
The men’s squad features senior Zachariah Elliott, who has the led the team in three of the four events. Sophomore Jesse Moreno has turned in second-place finishes in two of the four races but led the Eagles last time out when he ran the fourth fastest time in program history.
Senior Chase Ratliff and junior Gary Monroe have consistently finished in the top four in the lineup.
“Our men were picked to finish fifth out of the 12-team conference in the preseason polls, but I think we have higher goals than that in mind,” Ericksen said. “Zach and Gary were second team all-conference last season, and Jesse and Chase really give us a solid top four. If everyone does what they are capable of doing, we will have a great conference finish.”
Morehead State’s women’s team has been led by freshmen and sophomores in every event. Freshman Mackenzie Butler has paced the squad in three of the four events, while fellow freshman Karina Manz led in one event. Sophomore Lauren Tarovisky has turned in top-four times in all four events.
“Our women’s squad from last year lost four of our top six runners to graduation,” Ericksen said. “This year’s team has depth but not much collegiate experience as five of our top eight runners that are racing on Saturday are freshmen. They are a great group and have really worked hard, and we are counting on them to step up and race with the intensity that is required from start to finish.”
The defending champion Eastern Kentucky men have claimed seven consecutive OVC titles, while the EKU women have won six of the last seven league crowns