Eastern Michigan University’s cross-country teams were on full display Friday evening. Both men’s and women’s teams had one runner finish in the top three of their respectable events at the Mel Brodt Collegiate Opener in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Redshirt junior Ian Hancke finished the 8000-meter run placing third with a time of 25 minutes 28.33 seconds.
“Ian Hancke has done a great job for us the past two meets finishing as our number one runner,” EMU men’s head coach John Goodridge said. “I like what I saw today. I saw many positive things we can build upon.”
Hancke led the Eagles squad for the second straight meet, while sophomore Austin Lane and junior Cameron Trinh followed close behind to finish off the top ten. Lane finished in ninth place with a time of 25:48.16; Trinh finished in tenth with a time of 25:51.93.
“The guys who raced were given the opportunity to gain valuable experience and prove their competiveness,” Goodridge said.
The best finish from the women’s cross country team came from junior Victoria Voronko placing second with a time of 17:08.78.
“Voronko is a really talented girl,” Hancke said. “She has shown she can do well at the MAC level, regional level, and the national level with a Second-Team All-American [award] to her name.”
Voronko led the Eagles in all seven races she competed in last season.
“Greater things are still to come for her,” Hancke said. “She is really good.”
Voronko led the Eagles in the 5000-meter race, while senior Kayla Pfund and freshman Anna Aldrich finished close behind to finish off the top-20. Pfund finished in 15th place with a time of 17:57.29; Aldrich finished in seventeenth place with a time of 17:59.03.
Voronko and Hancke both finished in first place last week at the EMU Triangular, and did well once again this week.
“For me, it was something to just build on,” Hancke said. “We have to start somewhere.”
Last season both Voronko and Hancke finished well at the MAC Championships, and both received Academic All-MAC accolades.
Voronko earned First Team All-MAC honors with a fifth-place finish, while Hancke helped the Eagles win its third straight conference championship.
“This was my first 8k of the season, so nerves on how well you and the team will do is always lingering,” Hancke said. “But overall, I think as a team we showed our dominance and showed our strength in numbers to our competitors.”
Goodridge said the Bowling Green Golf Course, where the Mel Brodt Collegiate Opener took place, will be the same course that will host the MAC Championships this year.
“We got a feel of the course, which I really enjoyed,” Hancke said.
The cool temperature and slight wind were good to Hancke and Voronko, but the weather on Nov. 2 might not be so kind for the MAC Championships.
In the 2013 pre-season polls, coaches selected EMU men’s cross country team to place first in the MAC Championships.
“Yes, the team is heavily favored and we should,” Hancke said. “I believe we can live up to the hype and do what we need to win the MAC Championship. For me, I am just building my fitness week by week. By the end, when the real races come, I will have enough in the bank to run really well.”
The men’s cross-country team will not compete again until Oct. 4 when it travels to South Bend, Ind. at the Notre Dame Invitational. The women’s cross country team will compete next Friday in Three Rivers, Ind. at the George Dales Invitational; the women will be traveling to South Bend on Oct. 4 to compete at the Notre Dame Invitational.
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