Nov. 3, 2002
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Purdue cross country played the part of the hospitable host at the Big Ten Championships on Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Purdue University Varsity Cross Country Course. Unfortunately for the Boilermakers, the guests were not very kind to the host.
The Purdue women's cross country team finished eighth of eleven squads competing in the 2002 championships, while the men of the Old Gold and Black finished ninth of ten.
The Wisconsin badgers won the men's Big Ten title, and the Wolverines of Michigan claimed the conference crown on the women's side.
Individually, Michigan State's women took the top two spots in the 5K event as Michelle Carson and Jamie Krzyminski finished first and second, respectively. Carson's gold medal time was 17:24.0, ten seconds ahead of her teammate.
The top women's finisher for Purdue was local product Amber Ferner (So., West Lafayette), who completed the course in 18:08.4 for a 16th-place showing.
"It was a difficult race for us," said head coach Mike Poehlein. "I thought we could finish higher, but the field was a tough one. That's what happens when you run in the Big Ten, since six teams from this conference are ranked in the nation's top 30."
After Ferner's 16th-place finish, another Boilermaker did not cross the finish line until the 46th spot. Kara Lahey, a junior from Lockport, Ill., circled the course in 18:44.1, finishing 46th and scoring as the 45th runner.
Stephanie Lynn (Sr., Hillsdale, Ind.) finished 50th, scoring 48th, with a time of 18:51.9, while sophomore Christan Bahler (Kokomo, Ind.) crossed the line six seconds later in 57th/53rd.
The final Purdue scorer for the women was freshman Corrie Whisner (West Chester, Ohio), who ran a 19:33.9 for 78th/66th.
"The absense of Lindsay Zinn might have hurt us," said Poehlein. "Lindsay finished near the top of the conference last year, so her presense might have helped us move up. However, we were almost 100 points behind seventh place, and that is a lot of ground to make up."
In the men's 8K race, Wisconsin took the top two individual slots as Matt Tegenkamp too gold with a 24:01.9 and teammate Isaiah Festa was the silver medal runner with a time of 24:05.5. Wisconsin had all five scoring runners finish in the top ten.
Purdue's best time was recorded by junior Kyle Orender (Plainfield, Ind.). Orender, who was the top Boilermaker finisher in every race he ran in this year, finished 43rd with a time of 25:14.6. His time made him the 41st scoring individual.
Toby Buechner (Sr., Valparaiso, Ind.) completed the course four spots behind Orender with a time of 25:19.8. The third Boilermaker across the finish line was Robert Heise (Sr., West Lafayette) in 51st/48th, posting a time of 25:24.0.
David Rae (So., Naperville, Ill.) finished 54th/51st with a time of 25:29.1 for the Boilermakers, while the final scoring runner for Purdue was Dan Mathers in 57th/54th with a 25:33.4 clocking.
"We didn't ran a bad race, but we didn't run a good race, either," said Poehlein. "Heise and Mathers ran probably their best race of the year. However, no one else on the team stepped up. On paper going into the meet, we looked like an eighth-place team, so it's disappointing to see us slip.
"You hope to run well, especially on your home course," said Poehlein. "We have one last chance to run here this year (at the NCAA Regional), so we'll see how our runners respond."
Purdue hosts the 2002 NCAA Great Lakes Region Championships on Saturday, Nov. 16., at the Varsity Cross Country Course.