JCU Cross Country Teams flourish at high level competition this weekend


JCU Sports Information Department

Erica Esper ’23 competing last year for the Blue Streaks.

Ashley McCall, Sports Editor

In a weekend filled with individual and team victories, the John Carroll Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Teams look to carry their successes throughout the rest of the season. 

The squads split up this weekend as the men traveled to Michigan while the women remained in Ohio on Friday, Sept. 16. 

The Women’s Team placed fifth at the All-Ohio Collegiate XC Championships under the Friday night lights in Cedarville, OH. 

The Blue Streaks were the highest placing Division III school at this meet, beating out multiple Division I and II opponents. 

Erica Esper ‘23, crossed first for the Blue and Gold with a time of 18:34.5 in the 5k event. She took 22nd place at the meet. 

“I feel good,” said Esper. “There’s definitely areas to work on and improve, but I think this race was a good stepping stone for what’s to come.”

Making it within the top 50 were grad student Cameron Bujaucius who placed 37th with a time of 18:58.5, Amanda Keim ‘24 (43rd, 19:02.7), Morgan Edwards ‘25 (44th, 19:03.0), and Abby Schroff ‘25 (45th, 19:03.2).

Among just Division III runners, these five girls placed fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively. 

An honorable mention is Annie Higgins ‘24 who finished with a sub-20 minute time. 

This was both Keim’s and Higgins’ first collegiate cross country race due to injuries and the 2020 season being canceled because of COVID. 

Traveling to Michigan, the men placed seventh overall but had some great individual finishes for the meet, racing against higher division opponents. 

Alex Phillip paced the Blue Streaks with a time of 24:29.11 for a second place finish at the Spartan Invitational. Ethan Domitrovich was next for John Carroll with a 25:30.59 time for 30th place. 

Alex Phillip ’23 last year during his extremely successful track and field season. (JCU Sports Information Department)

“The team raced well this weekend, although we still have a lot of work to do,” said Phillip. “If we continue to work hard and trust our coach Kyle Basista, I know we will find success come November.”

Another honorable mention to Joe Backus ‘23 who ran his first race back from a big injury and surgery this weekend. 

The teams will be back in action very soon as the men will travel to Bethlehem, PA on Friday, Sept.30 for the Paul Short Invite and the women head to East Lansing, MI on Saturday, Oct. 1 for the Pre-Nationals Invite. 

“We need to continue to do the little day-to-day things and just take care of our bodies,” continued Esper. “We look out for each other and I believe our team bonding and togetherness this year is what really sets us apart.”