Ashland University's cross country teams are on to the second meet of the young season, as the 2019 Auto Owners Spartan Invitational will be Friday (Sept. 13) at Forest Akers East Golf Course on the campus of Michigan State University.
The 6K collegiate women's race will begin at 11 a.m., while the 8K collegiate men's race will go off at 11:30 a.m.
"On both sides, we didn't quite show all of our cards," Ashland head coach Jacob Sussman said of the season-opening Northwood Invitational, where the men finished second place and the women took third. "A couple people didn't have quite the races that we wanted them to, and that they wanted to, just due to little things.
"They're looking forward to this meet."
Seniors Steven Kapes (8K PR of 25:15.8) and Kyle Shively (8K PR of 25:36.2) led the way last week, along with junior Nick Reimund (8K PR of 26:46.8). Another junior, Tyler Sievert (8K PR of 25:52.0), is looking to move up the team ladder in East Lansing.
"Steven came in and was really looking forward to leading the team," Sussman said. "It's definitely helped. Kyle had an amazing race, and I think he's going to keep moving up, as well. And Nick Reimund taking the third spot was huge."
Ashland's top three finishers on the women's side last week were sophomore Abby Moser (6K PR of 23:46.6) and seniors Johannah Stefanek (6K PR of 23:45.9) and Haylee Zigan (6K PR of 24:37.0), while two freshmen to watch will be Emma Hinkle and Hannah Ohman.
"The freshmen are definitely coming in with a fire in their eyes," Sussman said. "They want to be in the top seven, top five, and they can do it."
Included among the 30 men's and 30 women's teams scheduled to run on Friday are several Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference sides – Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, Northwood, Purdue Northwest, Saginaw Valley State and Parkside.
"All the ones we'll be fighting for spots with will be there, which is exciting," Sussman said. "All the teams that beat us out at GLIAC last year, we'll have a chance to step up to the plate.
"It's a nice course. It's on a golf course, it's flat, fast."