Reaping their rewards
By Nate Bowen, Westlaker Times
BEREA, OHIO -- Distance running is a sport that involves a lot of hard work, dedication, and difficult training. All of this hard work often leads to only the reward of dropping a few seconds off of a runner’s personal record, or improving by a few places from season to season.
The last time that a host school qualified for the national meet was back in 2007 when the Calvin College Knights men’s and women’s teams both made it to the national meet.
The Yellow Jacket women qualified after their fifth place finish in the NCAA Division III Regional meet last Saturday at Rose-Hulman in Terre-Haute Indiana. The top two teams automatically qualify for the national meet and then the teams who finish in third, fourth and fifth are eligible to receive at large bids.
The Yellow Jackets were led by senior D’Arcy Hlavin (Berea) who placed 16th overall at the regional meet and completed the six kilometer course in a time of 22:53.43. Hlavin qualified for the national meet last season as an individual by placing 17th last season at Otterbein.
“Going with the whole team this year will make the experience so much better and will make it more memorable,” Hlavin said.
The other Yellow Jackets that helped pave the way for the team’s first trip to the national meet since 2002 are junior Kim Chinn (Zanesville/ West Muskingum) who placed 20th overall in 23:01.57, junior Karin Coyne (Columbia Station/ Columbia) who placed 36th in 23:39.07, freshmen Sarah Rospert (Milan/ Edison) who placed 41st in 23:43, junior Krysten Kovach (North Royalton/ Parma Padua Franciscan) who finished 49th in 24:00.78, junior Katie White (Berea) who placed 54th in 24:08, and sophomore Julie Kotesevec (Litchfield Twp./ Medina Buckeye) who completed the course in a time of 25:23.66 and placed 119th out of 231 total runners.
“I worked really hard this past summer. I ran a lot more miles than I have in the past and it has been really exciting to see that pay off with a trip to the national meet,” Chinn said.
The Yellow Jackets are coached by Bill Taraschke and his assistant coach Eric Schmuhl. Taraschke is in his 26th year as a coach at Baldwin Wallace and 18th in cross-country. Over that time he has coached some very successful teams, and the women’s team this year is another good one.
He has compiled 12 Ohio Athletic Conference Championships (OAC) on the women’s side and is a perennial candidate for OAC coach of the year.
This year the Yellow Jackets had a solid season from start to finish which helped them to earn their at large bid to the national meet. On October 31st in Wilmington, Ohio the lady yellow-jackets won the 13th OAC title of Taraschke’s career, and the 16th in the history of the College. It was a great performance by several of the yellow-jackets including the top six runners; Hlavin, Chinn, Rospert, Coyne, White, and Kovach who earned All-OAC by virtue of placing in the top 15 overall.
“It is important next weekend not to get caught up in the moment and to run your own race. The national meet is much bigger and more competitive than most races,” Hlavin said. She went on to add, “I want the team to run well and all of us to be able to walk off after the finish line with our heads held high.”
The Yellow Jackets are back in action when they compete at the Division III National Championship meet at Highland Park Golf Course in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday November 21st at 11a.m. The men’s race will follow the women’s at noon.