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Cross Country: Men join women on top at All-Ohios

Joe Amick

Issue date: 10/17/08 Section: Sports
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Dominic Smith (above) at last Friday's All-Ohios. Smith won the Div. III race and led the men to their first team title since 1993.
Media Credit: OWU/Sara Tincher
Dominic Smith (above) at last Friday's All-Ohios. Smith won the Div. III race and led the men to their first team title since 1993.

Can they run in a big meet? After coming up just short of a national qualification last year, that's the question that has lingered about Case's men's cross country team. Last Friday's first-place finish in Div. III at the All-Ohio Championships went a long way in putting those doubts to rest.

The women's team, who didn't need to convince anyone of their ability to do well at a championship meet, won the Div. III title for the third straight year. This was the first year since 1993 that the men had finished first and the first time in school history that both teams have taken the top spot. "Oh my gosh, it was an incredible feeling," said head coach Kathy Lanese.

The men beat ranked regional opponents Mount Union and Ohio Northern convincingly. They scored only 52 points in a sport where a lower point total means a higher team finish. The ranks of a team's top five finishers are added together to determine that team's score. Their closest opponent, Mount Union, scored 87 points and third-place Ohio Northern tallied 93. The Spartans finished behind Ohio Northern at Calvin College's Knight Invitational earlier this year. The men moved up from 14th to 11th in the latest USTFCCCA poll. The women moved up one spot, from ninth to eighth.

Once again, Dominic Smith led the way. His time of 25:47.5 was tops in Div. III and sixth overall in a field of over 280 runners. Smith has won three of the four meets the Spartans have competed in this year. Reza Mohammadpur, Case's second runner across the finish line, was sixth in Div. III (26:33.5). Five seconds behind him, in eighth place, was Ryan Gjoraas. "He had a fabulous race," said Lanese. "I've never considered him a front runner on the team, but he played that role this week."

"We sometimes joke that Ryan has the?ability to turn off the part of his brain that feels pain," said senior captain Mike Petro.

Austin Schmidt (11th, 26:52.2) and Ethan Kleinbaum (26th, 27:25.5) were the Spartans' fourth and fifth runners.

The women made the men's convincing win look like Florida in 2000. They tallied only 35 points. Second-place Kenyon racked up 121 points. Justine Jeroski took third and was Case's top runner on the women's side (18:55.5). This was the second time this year the sophomore has had Case's best finish. The last time was on Sept. 20 at Calvin.
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