The Eastern Michigan University men’s cross country team was able to nab their third consecutive and 17th overall Mid-American Conference Championship title in Buffalo Oct. 27.
“I think they are ready,” EMU head coach John Goodridge said in an interview prior to the championship. “We’ve had, to date, such a wonderful season. I think the results speak to that clearly. We’re very fortunate that the team has been able to race in some very high competition and it’s just been working out extremely well.”
Terefe Ejigu and Daryl Smith led the way for the Eagles coming in first and second place, respectively.
Ejigu finished with a time of 24:44.5 and Smith finished right behind with a time of 24:47.8.
“Championship week is very special for us, and it is pretty much business as usual,” Goodridge said. “We’ve been following a pretty consistent training pattern throughout the year with our specific training, and we’ve been very fortunate that the fellas have recovered very well from all the races and training has continued to progress.”
The training paid off for the Eagles Saturday as Ejigu finished his MAC Championship career with two titles, three All-MAC First Team honors, one runner-up finish and three MAC Championships.
For Smith, the race marked his best finish of his career as he beat his previous best from the Spartan Invitation in Lansing earlier this season.
Afterwards, Goodridge was named the 2012 Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.
The women’s cross country team trained twice a week for the championship.
“We’ve done really well this season, like getting better each race, and I just think that we’re just super pumped and ready to get out there,” EMU runner Morgan Churchwell said about the MAC Championship that was hosted at the University of Buffalo. “Our goal of getting top two, top three is like right there so I think we’re going to be in the mix and be really competitive.”
The team finished in fifth place with a combined score of 144.
Sophomore Victoria Voronko finished in fifth place with a time of 21:47.7. This is also the second consecutive year that she has received All-MAC First Team honors.
The next Eagle to finish the race was Kayla Pfund, crossing the line in 19th place with a time of 22:16.2.
The other top scorers for the Eagle team were Churchwell, Rachael Quaintance and Cara Smock.
The women’s cross country team continues the season Nov. 1 as they host the EMU Open. Men’s cross country will be preparing for the 2012 NCAA Great Lakes Regional meet Nov. 9.