ATHENS, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University men’s and women’s cross country teams opened their respective seasons at the Ohio-hosted Bobcat Invite on Friday.
BGSU senior A.J. Haffa placed fifth overall to lead the men to a fourth-place team score, while the Falcon women finished fifth. Senior Katerina Shuble took second place while running unattached.
Running the hills of Southeast Ohio made for its own challenges.
“Good opportunity for us to learn more about the course,” said BGSU coach Lou Snelling. “I look forward to more of the team opening up their season and getting in a uniform over the next few meets.”
Shuble finished first for Bowling Green and second overall with a time of 18:13.6. The senior was one of six Falcons to run attached in the race.
BGSU freshman Kylee Cubbison finished eighth overall with a time of 18:40.95. Cubbison ran unattached in her first collegiate race.
Izzy Best and Regina Rose were the third and fourth Falcons to cross the finish line, finishing 15th and 16th overall while running unattached. The freshmen completed the 5K in 18:59.3 and 19:01.36, respectively.
BGSU freshman Lillie Katsaras placed 21st overall with a time of 19:09.87 to round out the top five for Bowling Green. Katsaras ran unattached in her first collegiate race.
Elise Johnson, Raegan Burkey and Kristin Groppe were the top three scoring runners for the Falcons.
Johnson placed 24th with a time of 19:12.36, Burkey ran the race in 19:44.47 to finish 38th, and Groppe came in 42nd with a time of 20:08.88.
The women’s race featured 80 athletes from six schools. The Falcons tallied 128 points with a limited roster to place fifth out of five scoring teams.
Ohio (29) edged out Toledo (30) by just one point to take first in the event. Kent State placed third with 90 points, while Akron finished fourth with 109. Fairmont State did not record a team score.
Haffa hits personal best
Fifty-nine athletes from five schools ran in the men’s 5K. Bowling Green placed fourth with a team score of 75 points.
“I am happy with how we raced today,” BGSU coach Kyle Leatherman said. “We talked about putting ourselves out there and taking a risk.
Toledo defeated Kent State in a tiebreaker, with both teams collecting 36 points, while Ohio placed third (67). Fairmont State finished fifth (139).
For BGSU, Haffa recorded a personal best mark in the 5k while finishing fifth overall. The senior completed the race in 15:36.86.
“A.J. showed that he wants to compete well in the MAC and had a great day. Overall, I am happy with the teams’ performances and excited to see where we can grow from here,” Leatherman said.
BGSU sophomore Charlie Nowinski finished second for Bowling Green and 12th overall, marking his career high finish. His time of 15:51.88 set a new personal best in the 5K.
Bryce Weber finished 16th overall in his first collegiate race. The freshman posted a time of 16:02.97.
BGSU freshman Hunter Sidle was the fourth Falcon to cross the finish line, completing the 5K in 16:11.70. Sidle finished in 20th place.
Heriberto Alvarex rounded out the top five for the Falcons, finishing 22nd overall. The sophomore posted a time of 16:16.8 in his first collegiate 5K.
The Falcons will compete in their first home meet of the season when they host the Mel Brodt Collegiate Open on Sept. 16 at the Bowling Green Cross Country Course.
The meet will open with the women’s 6K at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men’s 8K at 6:05 p.m.