SSU XC competes at Spartan Invitational

Behind outstanding top-30 runs from Seth Farmer and Hunter Hoover, the Shawnee State men’s cross country program was able to claim a top-10 finish against NCAA Division I and II competition in the eight-kilometer run, while Brooke Smith and Marissa Smith collected top-50 runs to head up the SSU women’s cross country runners in an individual-only six-kilometer race as part of the Spartan Invitational on Friday in East Lansing, Mich.

Farmer and Hoover, who collected top-five finishes en route to leading the men to a victory at the season-opening Mid-South Conference Previews in Bowling Green, Ky., continued to perform in a strong manner as the duo finished 12th and 26th out of the 326 runners who finished the Spartan Invitational.

Farmer, who clicked off a 8K time of 25:24.1, averaged a stout one-mile average of 5:06. His 25:24 was just one minute behind Michigan State’s Morgan Beadlescomb, who won the Spartan Invitational with his 24:24. Hoover, who finished 26th, collected a strong 25:44.7 to finish in the 26th position. The reigning MSC Runner of the Week set just eight-tenths of a second away from a top-25 showing in the event, and averaged a 5:10 in the mile to boot en route to another impressive performance.

Behind the Pike County duo, Scioto County native Hunter Bennington followed Farmer and Hoover up with a solid 59th place run. The South Webster High School graduate posted a time of 26:26.4 and averaged a 5:19 in the mile. Steven Adams, who posted a 74th place run with his 26:38.7 and his 5:21 mile average, and Aiden Kammler, a Portsmouth graduate who picked up the first top-five team finish of his young career by placing 83rd overall with a 26:49.8 and a 5:23 mile average.

Following the quintet, Josh Metzung, Jacob Kemper, and Owen Reeher as the trio finished 90th (26:57.6), 96th (27:00.5), and 117th (27:16.5), respectively while averaging miles of 5:25, 5:26, and 5:29 in order. Thryceton Deckard (143rd, 27:40.7) and Chris Parsons (156th, 27:49.7) allowed SSU to put 10 runners in the top half of the finishing order.

On the women’s side of the spectrum, Brooke Smith’s 22:43 6K time and 6:05 average in the mile led the Bears en route to the senior’s 30th place showing, while Marissa Smith finished just 19 seconds back of Brooke Smith with her 23:02 showing and 6:10 mark in the mile. The SSU women also received solid runs from Jessica Cook (141st, 25:04.4) and Olivia Messer (182nd, 25:54.1), while Mallory Spencer’s 27:46.2 rounded out the female harriers for Shawnee State.

In all, SSU, who competed against NCAA Division I programs Michigan State, Ball State, Bowling Green, and Oakland (Mich.), got strong efforts from Farmer and Hoover, who bested 26 and 24 NCAA Division I runners, and the Smiths, who outran 43 and 36 NCAA Division I runners, respectively.

From a team standpoint, the SSU men, who finished eighth out of 23 teams at the Spartan Invitational, bested NCAA Division I Bowling Green by 32 points (192 to 225) for the eighth spot while finishing just one point behind Illinois-Springfield for the seventh position in the men’s standings. Michigan State won its home event with 48 points while Grand Valley State (72), Michigan Tech (76), Saginaw Valley State (131), Calvin (Mich.) (138) and Oakland (163) rounded out the top-six.

The women, who scored 439 points in all, finished 17th of 26 units at the Spartan Invitational. Michigan State also took home the women’s trophy, putting together a near-perfect afternoon by obtaining 16 points in all.

Both cross country programs will take a two-week sabbatical before the SSU men’s and women’s cross country programs return to action at the 65th Annual All-Ohio Championships in Cedarville on Saturday, Sept. 28.