2008 Baldwin Wallace University Men's and Women's Cross Country Preview
BEREA, OHIO -- The Baldwin Wallace University cross country teams enter the 2008 season with high hopes of capturing the Ohio Athletic Conference title, running well at the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional Championships and qualifying for the NCAA Division III National Meet. Success in cross country at BW is a tradition and not a surprise.
The program is led by veteran Head Coach Bill Taraschke. He and his staff were honored as the 2007 OAC Women’s Staff of the Year, and he has been named either Coach of the Year or as a member of the Coaching Staff of the Year a staggering 35 times. Taraschke has led his cross country and track teams to 45 OAC titles in his 24 years at BW.
In eight meets in 2007, the Yellow Jacket women’s team had a 77-7 overall record, won two meet titles, including the OAC crown, placed second three times, third twice and sixth of 31 schools at the Great Lakes Regional Meet. Overall, the BW women have won 15 OAC titles in the last 22 seasons. The BW men had a 54-33 record a year ago and another much-improved season that included a fifth place finish at the OAC Meet.
The women will be led by senior three-time All-OAC and two-time All-Region standout Ashley Scullion (Kentwood, Mich./ East Kentwood). In addition, another pair of All-OAC runners in junior D’Arcy Hlavin (Berea) and sophomore Karin Coyne (Columbia Station/ Columbia) join Scullion as Top-10 finishers at last year’s OAC Championship Meet. Scullion was fourth, Hlavin fifth and Coyne was 10th.
“Ashley, D’Arcy and Karin each earned All-OAC accolades a year ago and are among the best in the OAC,” said Taraschke. “They each work hard and compete every day in practice. Some of the best competition they get is at practice each day.”
Joining Taraschke’s top three runners and returning this year are junior Brittany Giesken (Glandorf/ Ottawa-Glandorf), who was 19th at the OAC Meet, and sophomore Katie White (Berea), who was 35th, as well as senior Colleen Benoit (Fairport, N.Y./ Fairport), junior Cassey Turic (Poland/ Seminary), sophomores Krysten Kovach (North Royalton/ Parma Padua), Kim Chinn (Zanesville/ West Muskingum), Emily Oliver (Waynesburg/ Sandy Valley) and Sam Robinson (Mount Orab/ Western Brown). In addition, Taraschke has three newcomers who wil push the upperclass competitors.
“We feel that we have the returning talent to again compete for the OAC title and challenge at the regional level,” said Taraschke. “We need our student-athletes to stay healthy and run well.”
The men’s team will be led by seniors Derek Hill (Fremont/ Ross) and Nate Bowen (Fremont/ Ross). Hill led the men in six of eight meets and Bowen led the way one time. The duo placed 13th and 23rd, respectively, at the OAC Championship Meet.
In addition to Hill and Bowen, look for juniors Jimmy Eberts (North Canton/ Hoover), Jeff Bonezzi (Medina/ Senior), Mark Buhoveckey (Brunswick/ Parma Padua) and Brian Campbell (Berea) to challenge for a spot in the top five, and for junior Greg Ackley (Ashtabula/ Lakeside), sophomores Brian Gibbons (Rocky River), Nathaniel Nemire (Berlin Heights/ Milan Edison) and Justin Brown (Sandusky/ Senior) to add depth. Taraschke also has a very talented freshmen group coming to campus.
“In Derek and Nate, we have two definite team leaders,” said Taraschke. “Overall, almost every men’s runner made great strides a year ago. We are excited about what that means for this year and are looking for continued progress in 2008.”
The men’s and women’s cross country teams open the season on August 30 when they travel to Hunting Valley, Ohio to compete in the Case Western Reserve University Bill Sudeck Memorial Meet at 11:00 a.m.