The Lords and Ladies cross country teams boast some of the youngest rosters at Kenyon, a total of 34 first years and sophomores between them, but inexperience has yet to hold them back. The teams have run in four meets so far this season, and the results are promising.
Since this season began, the women’s cross country team has left its opponents in the dust in every race. “They’re ranked top 10 in the region week after week, and that’s very hard to do,” Head Coach Duane Gomez said. “[The Great Lakes Region] is one of the toughest in the country, so we’re very happy to be ranked up there.”
The Ladies finished first at the Ohio Wesleyan Invitational on Sept. 10, second at the Otterbein Invitational on Sept. 17 and fifth at the All-Ohio Championship on Sept. 30, a meet that featured 17 NCAA Division III schools from across the state. The team’s top runners include Harlee Mollenkopf ’17, Molly Hunt ’18, Quinn Harrigan ’19 and Andrea Ludwig ’19, who has been selected for the All-Ohio team for the second year in a row.
“This is the best season I’ve ever had on Kenyon cross country,” Hunt said.
On the men’s side, the loss of several top runners from last year threatened to knock the team back in the meets. “We lost six of our top seven guys, which would be almost all our scoring members for the team,” Eric Thornton ’18, men’s cross country captain, said.
Although Thornton admits this season is still a time for the team to rebuild and regroup, the underclassmen have stepped up to help the Lords meet last season’s standard. Kenyon finished 11th in the All-Ohio Championship, one position better than last season, and ninth in the Otterbein Invitational, compared to 12th last year. The Lords also finished fourth in the Ohio Wesleyan Invitational on Sept. 10, which was unscored last season. Sophomores Isak Davis and Kyle Rose have claimed the top two times for Kenyon in all three meets so far.
Both teams will see their final test of the regular season on Saturday at the Inter-Regional Rumble in Oberlin, Ohio. Kenyon will race against teams from the Great Lakes Region and several neighboring regions in the meet, which the NCAA uses to compile at-large and national rankings. After the Rumble, the teams will have two weeks to prepare for the North Coast Athletic Conference Championship, which will be held on Oct. 30 in Terre Haute, Ind.