Little Giants Finish 16th out of 35, Look Ahead to NCAC Championships

The Redpack competed at the Oberlin Interregional Rumble this past Saturday against a field of thirtyfive Division III opponents. The Little Giants finished 16th out of the 35 total teams.

The course consisted of one main lap that the racers repeated three times with minor variations on each loop. The lap is approximately 1.5 miles. Half the loop is wood chip path and the other half is short cut grass. The course was in great condition when the team previewed the course on Friday night. However, the Greater Cleveland Area experienced torrential downpours all Friday night into Saturday morning. These downpours turned the wood chip path into a thick soup of uneven mud and wood chips that grabbed at the runners’ shoes as they attempted to navigate the path. The other half of the course was left largely unharmed.

The damage was done and every squad in the race recorded poor times. In these conditions, it was almost impossible for racers to establish a consistent rhythm and pass and extremely difficult to hold pace in a crowded field on the wood chip path.

Coach Tyler McCreary said, “Our biggest strength is our 1-5 pack, which the course conditions blew up.” Despite slow times, the Redpack put together a solid effort at the meet. The squad ran a sub-one minute spread for their scoring runners, a trend that will help them later in the season. At previous meets, the spread was closer to 30 seconds.

Ethan Pine ’22 finished 62nd in a time of 27:13, Brayden Curnutt ’25 finished 65th in a time of 27:19, Clarke Criddell ’22 finished 108th in a time of 28:03, Drake Hayes ’24 finished 118th in a time of 28:09, and Ian Dickey ’22 finished 123rd in a time of 28:13. Coach McCreary was also impressed with Jacob “J-Bone” Sitzman ’25 and Joe Barnett ’24, who both earned a conference roster position from the open race.

Coach McCreary said, “Ethan Pine and Brayden Curnutt both had great performances that left us in a good spot for the day.”

The team notably lost to conference opponents Allegheny College, Denison University, and Oberlin College. This result will likely place the team fifth in the pre-conference rankings. “Oberlin, Denison, and Allegheny will all be good competition at the Conference meet.” All of these teams have impressive front runners and a larger spread between their one and five pack.

At the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Meet on Saturday, October 30, the team will look to use their mid-pack depth to their advantage. Wittenberg University will host the meet in Springfield, Ohio.

“The team has been looking forward to the conference meet all year,” McCreary said. “We’ve had a couple of misses at previous meets due to bad performances or conditions. But we are looking to compete well in the conference meet.”

Unlike the Oberlin meet which had 35 teams, the conference meet will only have nine teams. This gives teams with a quick front runner less advantage due to the nature of scoring in cross country (low score wins, top five finishers receive points equal to their place). In a race with 90 runners, a first place finish carries less weight than in a race with 500 runners. Therefore, the Redpack will be looking to use their strong core to their advantage. “The makeup of the team, without a major front runner, but with a fantastic core, will put us in good condition for a smaller meet like at a conference. […] Depauw will be difficult to beat , but we are looking at some beatable teams in Denison, Oberlin, and Allegheny.”