Oxford Lake Park Hosts OVC Cross Country Championship

The City of Oxford is coming off a big weekend after serving as this year’s host for the OVC Cross Country Championship. On Saturday, hundreds of runners and fans from all over the conference made their way to Oxford Lake Park for the big day of racing. Once again, the stage belonged to Eastern Kentucky. The Colonels swept both the men’s and women’s championship.

Below is the press release for the OVC Cross Country Championship: Courtesy OVC Sports (www.ovcsports.com)

OXFORD, Ala. - The Eastern Kentucky men's and women's teams ran to victories at the 2014 Ohio Valley Conference Cross Country Championship on Saturday at the Oxford Lake Park in Oxford, Alabama.

It marked the ninth-straight championship (and 23rd overall) for the Eastern Kentucky men and the third-straight and 28th overall title for the women.

In the men's race Eastern Kentucky swept the top five spots, just the fifth time in OVC history a team has recorded a perfect score of 15. The other occurrences were 1965 (Eastern Kentucky), 1980 (Western Kentucky) 1989 (Eastern Kentucky) and 2010 (Eastern Kentucky). The Colonels accomplished that with top runner and OVC Male Athlete of the YearAmos Kosgey who remained home to rest for the NCAA Regionals in two weeks.

EKU's total of 15 was 75 points better than Morehead State who was second (90) and followed by SIUE (93), Belmont (97), Eastern Illinois (109), Southeast Missouri (177), Tennessee Tech (181), Murray State (222), Austin Peay (282), host UT Martin (297), Jacksonville State (301) and Tennessee State (382).

The second-place finish for Morehead State was its best since placing second at the 2006 OVC Championship; the Eagles have now finished in the top four in each of the past five OVC Championships. SIUE's third-place finish was its best finish in its three OVC Championship meets since joining the league.

In the women's race the Colonels had five of the top six runners overall to win its third-straight title. EKU's point total of 19 was 59 points better than second place Eastern Illinois (78). Belmont was third (86) and followed by Southeast Missouri (95), Murray State (144), Morehead State (154), SIUE (191), Austin Peay (225), Jacksonville State (274), Tennessee Tech (314), UT Martin (324) and Tennessee State (340).

In the individual competition Eastern Kentucky sophomore Ambrose Maritim won his first OVC Championship with an OVC Championship record time of 23:59.29 in the 8K race. He is the 11th-straight EKU runner to win the OVC Championship. It marked the first collegiate victory of his career; he was second at the OVC Championship a year ago while earning OVC Freshman of the Year honors. He was followed by teammates Luka Ndungu (24:02.07), Ole Hesselbjerg (24:10.31), Sean Vandermosten (24:14.92) and Jakob Abrahamsen (24:22.20). Tennessee Tech sophomore newcomer Geoffrey Sambu (24:28.18 in becoming the first TTU runner to finish in the Top 7 since 1995) and Belmont junior Marcus Bridger-Wilkinson (24:34.58) finished sixth and seventh to round out the All-OVC first-team.

On Friday night Eastern Kentucky senior Ann Eason earned her third-straight OVC Female Athlete of the Year Award (becoming the first female to accomplish that feat in OVC history) but on Saturday she finally claimed her first OVC Championship. Eason was eighth at the meet as a freshman and sixth as a sophomore before an injury kept her out of last year's race where she would have been the favorite. This year she ran the 5K course in 17:04.73, becoming the fifth EKU runner in the last six years to win the award.

Belmont junior Hannah Wittman improved from third a season ago to second this year, finishing two seconds behind Eason (17:06.81). Runners three through six were all from EKU as Anna Reddin (17:26.12), Una Britton (17:29.32), Ann Tum (17:39.62) and Julie Mathisen (17:41.09) ran close to each other with Southeast Missouri's Rebekah Lawson(17:42.10) finished seventh to round out the All-OVC first-team.

Eastern Kentucky's Rick Erdmann was named both OVC Men's and Women's Coach of the Year. It marked the 21st time overall and ninth year in a row he has been bestowed the men's honor and the 28th time (and eighth time in the last nine years) he has won the women's honor. In total he has 49 combined Coach of the Year honors for his career.

Men's Awards

Athlete of the Year: Amos Kosgey, Eastern Kentucky

Athlete of the Championship: Ambrose Maritim, Eastern Kentucky

Coach of the Year: Rick Erdmann, Eastern Kentucky

Freshman of the Year: Ronald Korir, Eastern Kentucky

All-OVC First Team

Ambrose Maritim, Eastern Kentucky

Luka Ndungu, Eastern Kentucky

Ole Hesselbjerg, Eastern Kentucky

Sean Vandermosten, Eastern Kentucky

Jakob Abrahamsen, Eastern Kentucky

Geoffrey Sambu, Tennessee Tech

Marcus Bridger-Wilkinson, Belmont

All-OVC Second Team

Clint Kliem, SIUE

Ronald Korir, Eastern Kentucky

Gary Monroe, Morehead State

John Sharpe, Belmont

Thomas Koringo, Eastern Kentucky

Keith Meyer, SIUE

Nick Moore, SIUE

Women's Awards

Athlete of the Year: Ann Eason, Eastern Kentucky

Athlete of the Championship: Ann Eason, Eastern Kentucky

Coach of the Year: Rick Erdmann, Eastern Kentucky

Freshman of the Year: Maria Baldwin, Eastern Illinois

All-OVC First Team

Ann Eason, Eastern Kentucky

Hannah Wittman, Belmont

Anna Reddin, Eastern Kentucky

Una Britton, Eastern Kentucky

Ann Tum, Eastern Kentucky

Julie Mathisen, Eastern Kentucky

Rebekah Lawson, Southeast Missouri

All-OVC Second Team

Ashley Svec, Eastern Kentucky

Emily Brelsfoard, Eastern Illinois

Alex Morris, Morehead State

Jessica King, Belmont

Gloria Westlake, Southeast Missouri

Victoria Quarton, Eastern Illinois

Maria Baldwin, Eastern Illinois

Courtesy: OVC Sports (www.ovcsports.com)

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