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Cross Country readies to host OAC championship

October 26, 2012

- Alek Erwin and Jenna Parlette -

- Alek Erwin and Jenna Parlette -

WILMINGTON, OH – The Ohio Athletic Conference cross country meet is coming to Wilmington Saturday, and the Quakers are ready to compete individually and as a team.

Junior Alek Erwin (South Vienna, OH/Northeastern) has been the leading runner for the men’s cross country every since the team’s second race of the season.

“He has his breakout race at Cedarville,” said WC cross country coach Ron Combs. “He ran one of his best races at the Fall Classic, and hopefully we can take that momentum into the weekend. The biggest Alek has made is his consistency.”

In the Fall Classic, Erwin was top OAC runner – finishing the course in 25:55.54. However, the course for the OAC meet is 8K instead of 6K. Sophomores Myles Corcoran (Wilmington, OH/Clinton-Massie) and sophomore Rob King (Washington Court House, OH/Miami Trace) will also compete for All-OAC honors.

Last season, Wilmington finished seventh in the 10-team race and they are looking to vault themselves into the top half of the league. Combs expects Ohio Northern to face a challenge from John Carroll and Mount Union for the OAC championship.

The women’s team came into the season with high expectations, but injuries have derailed the lofty dreams. However, that doesn’t mean they are just going to wilt away. Wilmington has faced a season without two-time national qualifier Annie Cekada (Mineral Point, PA/Central Cambria) and has ran races without two or three of their top eight runners all season long.

“It’s disappointing not only as a coach, but also for the girls because I knew how excited they were before the season,” said Combs. “Losing Annie was a huge blow to the team. This is the most challenging season of my 16 years because I have never had to deal with so many injuries. But, I am proud of what they have done. We competed will in the Fall Classic, finishing eighth of 35 schools. We can still be top-four team. A lot depends on Tricia (Steffen) health and how the three, four, five, six, seven runners run.”

Throughout the trying season, sophomore Jenna Parlette (Miamisburg, OH/Miamisburg) has been the leader on and off the course. She is expected to claim first-team All-OAC honors, while Tricia Steffen (Baltimore, OH/Liberty Union) and senior Brittany Gibbons (Pleasant Plain, OH/Blanchester) will be in position to also earn All-Ohio recognition.

Ohio Northern is the favorite in the women’s race, according to Combs, with challenges from Mount Union and John Carroll.