By Neil Riley

Sports Editor

The Denison cross country team opened its season on Sept. 5 in Delaware, Ohio at the Ohio Wesleyan University Invitation. Both the men’s and women’s squads matched the lofty expectations set after last season and placed sixth and fourth, respectively.

In the men’s race, Sam Beech ‘16 earned a seventh place finish in the 100-man field with a 26:41.7. Beech was satisfied with the results of the race.

“This race puts me in a very good spot as far as individual goals go,” the senior said.

“My goal for this race was to run with a couple of the best runners in our conference from Ohio Wesleyan, and I went back and forth with them all the way until the end. Unfortunately, they beat me by a few seconds at the end.”

“This meet was encouraging, because it affirmed to me that I can run with anyone in the conference.

The conference is very deep individually, and quite a number of guys can win it this year. This race told me that I am in that group of guys that can compete for an NCAC Championship.”

In addition to Beech, Drake Lohnes ‘17 and Zach Cove ‘17 finished in the top-35 for the Big Red. The former took 32nd place with a time of 28:12.7 while the latter secured 35th, clocking in at a 28:21.4.

Of the nine teams competing, Ashland ended the day on top of the men’s races.

The Denison women fared even better against the Division II and III competition. Both Emily Lamm ‘16 and Kate Benson ‘16 finished in the top 10 of the 101 runners in the invitational.

Benson was happy with her performance. “It was a solid starting place, and leaves a good amount of room for improvement over the year,” the senior said. “I have goals of all-conference and all-region performances. If we can continue the pattern we have established thus far of successful workouts, stretching, lifting, and a great team dynamic, I think they are in reach.”

Anna Fash ‘19 was another standout as she finished in 17th place to help give Denison the second slot among the Division III teams at the Invitational.

The Big Red will travel to Gambier, Ohio for the North Coast Athletic Conference Preview on Sept. 12.