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Women pick seventh, men fourth by OAC coaches

August 28, 2013

Jenna Parlette returns as one of the top runners in the OAC. (Wilmington file photo)

Jenna Parlette returns as one of the top runners in the OAC. (Wilmington file photo)

AUSTINTOWN – The Wilmington College men’s cross country team was picked by the Ohio Athletic Conference coaches to finish fourth, while the women’s team was picked to finish seventh, the league announced today (August 28, 2013).

"The polls are always interesting,” said WC head coach Ron Combs. “I think our men’s team is receiving a lot of credit this year for what last year’s team did. Our women’s team has graduated a lot of quality kids in the last two years, so we are going through some transition right now searching for an identity. The thing I like about our team is the challenge of trying to make this group a competitive team. I think we have all embraced that challenge and we are working hard towards that goal."

The men’s team returns just two of their top five runners from a season ago in seniors Alek Erwin (South Vienna, OH/Southeastern) and Brad Kline (Circleville, OH/Circleville). Erwin was a first team All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection last season and was runner-up in the 1,500 meter run during outdoor track season.

Combs believes that Kline has the potential to earn all conference laurels this season after posting a personal record of 26:08 in the 8k run.

On the women’s side, the Quakers return three of their top five runners, including All-Great Lakes Region selection Jenna Parlette (Miamisburg, OH/Miamisburg). Parlette earned first team All-OAC last season as well. Junior Tricia Steffen (Baltimore, OH/Liberty Union) is coming off a strong outdoor track season and could be poised to have a breakout cross country season.

“We have a very inexperienced team and not a lot of depth,” said Combs. “The strength for us is that we have some front runners and some pretty good leadership. Our goal is always to be in the top half of the OAC. I think we are capable of doing that, but we have to see how some of the team develops as we progress towards the championship meets. We need some people to step up and run in positions under pressure that they have never had to deal with before.”

Wilmington kicks off the season Saturday at Franklin College.