JCU Cross Country keeps season alive as they advance to nationals


JCU Sports Information Department

The Men’s Cross Country team brings it in before the Oberlin Rumble this season.

Ashley McCall, Sports Editor

The John Carroll University Cross Country teams are on a winning spree and they cannot be stopped. 

A little over two weeks ago, the squads each brought home the Ohio Athletic Conference Championship title and advanced to the National Collegiate Athletic Association Great Lakes Regional Championship which took place on Sat., Nov. 12 at West Ottawa Golf Course in Holland, MI. 

On Saturday, both the Men’s and Women’s team earned the gold as they keep their season alive and head to nationals this weekend. 

Erica Esper ‘23 has been having a fantastic senior season as she finished in fourth place overall at regionals with a final time of 21:17.8. Freshman Abby Schroff placed within the top 15 as her first collegiate cross country season is one that will be remembered for a long time. 

“This weekend was a true testament to how strong our team is and our capabilities to rise to the occasion,” said Schroff. “I think our success came from running together and for each other and having trust in our training and preparation.”

Rounding out the top five for JCU was Cameron Bujaucius ‘23 (22:02.8), Amanda Keim ‘26 (22:03.6) and Jennifer Massucci ‘24 (22:12.0) who finished in 19th, 20th and 25th respectively. 

Bujaucius, Esper, Keim, Ellie Kitsmiller ‘25, Massucci and Schroff each earned All-Region honors for JCU Women’s Cross Country following this meet. 

The Women’s Team takes off during the Oberlin Rumble this season. (JCU Sports Information Department)

With the women setting the tone for the day, the men were able to build from this success with a first place victory of their own. 

To no surprise, Alex Phillip ‘23 came in first place overall as he finished with a time of 23:56.7. 

Because of his performances this year, Phillip has been named the Great Lakes Region Men’s Athlete of the Year.

Barrett Scheatzle ‘25 (24:30.1), Joe Backus ‘24 (24:32.3), Ryan Champa ‘25 (24:42.4) and Tommy Naiman ‘25 (24:48.3) were all top 20 finishers in the competition. 

For JCU Men’s Cross Country, Backus, Champa, Naiman, Phillip, Scheatzle and Adam Shah ‘23 each were honored with the title of All-Region.

“A lot of people support the program and invest a lot of time into us so we feel like we have to go all out on the course and give it our all,” said Backus. “We’ll prepare for the national meet by continuing to have fun at practice and making sure we do the little things so we’re healthy when it’s race time.”

With these wins, the cross country season continues with both teams traveling to East Lansing, MI for the NCAA DIII National Championships on Sat., Nov. 19.