CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland State cross country team is set to continue the 2016 season this weekend, participating in the LHU Invitational on Saturday, September 24. Saturday's race, which is slated for an 11:30 a.m. start at the West Branch Cross Country Course, will be Cleveland State's first 6K of the season.
Last Time Out
Last time on the course the Vikings finished fifth as a team at the Friendship Invitational, marking the third time over the last four seasons that Cleveland State has posted a top-five team finish at the event. All 11 runners were in action for the Vikings at the Friendship Invitational, paced by the trio of Karen Barrientos, Ashlyn Woods, and Olivia Hammons who all posted sub 20-minute 5K times.
What A Difference A Year Can Make
Last time out, Cleveland State's top-five finishers averaged a 5K time of 19:46 – a time that was 40 seconds faster than last year's average at the Friendship Invitational. The top-five finishers, who counted as Cleveland State's scoring runners, all posted top-40 overall finishes – marking just the second time that all five Vikings crossed the line in the top-40.
Top-Three Viking Finishers
Through the first three races this season, Cleveland State's top three finishers are recording at average 5K time of 19:42 – the fastest 5K average for CSU's top three finishers over the last six seasons. Karen Barrientos, Ashlyn Woods, and Olivia Hammons have been Cleveland State's first three finishers during all three races so far this year, with the trio notching six sub 20-minute 5K times out of a possible nine.
Barrientos Records Sub 19-Minute 5K Time
Junior transfer Karen Barrientos continues to drop her 5K time week-after-week, notching a season-best time of 18:41 at the Friendship Invitational last time out. Barrientos' time marks the second fastest 5K time under head coach Joe Jaketic, and also makes her just the third Viking to notch a sub 19-minute 5K time over the last 12 years.
Consistency & Improvement
Head coach Joe Jaketic has made a point of stressing consistency and improvement this season, and through the first three weeks the Vikings are definitely showing both attributes. Ten of Cleveland State's 11 runners have improved their 5K times each week out on the course, including junior Bridget Smik who dropped 1:01 off her 5K time between the first race of the season (Duquesne Duals) and the Friendship Invitational last week. Freshmen Anna Beasley and Jessica Finley are right behind Smik, dropping 60 seconds and 58 seconds, respectively, off their times between the first race of the season and third race.