Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
OXFORD, Ohio - Central Michigan's Megan O'Neil and Luke Anderson earned all-conference honors on Saturday at the Mid-American Conference Cross Country Championships, hosted by Miami (Ohio).
O'Neil placed fifth in the women's race to earn a spot on the seven-runner first team. Anderson was 12th in the men's race to land a position on the second team.
O'Neil, a junior from Stanwood, finished the women's race, a 6K, in 20 minutes, 58.8 seconds, 14.8 seconds behind winner Hanne Christensen of Western Michigan. Last season, O'Neil finished ninth, earning a spot on the all-conference second team.
"She ran really, really well," CMU women's coach Jennifer Swieton said. "She went for it from the beginning and stayed in the lead pack and let them pull her along. Pretty perfectly run race. She finished around All-Americans and that definitely shows what she's capable of."
Anderson, a sophomore from Palms, finished the men's 8K race in 25:09.3. Hlyur Andresson of Eastern Michigan was first in 24:30.0.
"Luke ran a phenomenal race," CMU men's coach Matt Kaczor said. "He stepped up. He was around guys he had not beaten before and he gave himself a chance.
"He had a nice finish, passed four or five guys in the last 800 (meters) to get himself into All-MAC. I can't be upset with him. Great steppingstone for him going forward in his in his career."
The Chippewa women placed sixth in the 12-team women's race. Eastern Michigan was first with 45 points. Toledo (99) was second. The Chippewas finished with 149.
CMU was seventh (156) in the nine-team men's race. Eastern Michigan (24) was first, 30 points ahead of runner-up Miami.
Also for the CMU women, Hanna Davis placed 27th, Taylor Aguillon was 28th, freshman Alexis Grandys was 30th, and Samantha Allmacher placed 65th. Davis and Aguillon are seniors; Allmacher is a junior.
"I'm happy with the team performance," Swieton said. "Of our nine runners, only three had ever been to the MAC meet. They have a lot of learning to do. One thing they have done well from the beginning of the season is learn from experience, and their performance today was exponentially better than it was at Pre-Nationals (two weeks ago).
"They're getting better every day. I see room for improvement, take it one step at a time. I think that's the most important thing."
For the Chippewa men, Mark Beckmann was 29th, Conor Naughton was 34th, senior Alec Omell was 41st, and Bransen Stimpfel placed 47th. CMU redshirt freshman Logan Kleam, who was expected to contend for all-conference honors, finished 65th.
"Logan, within the first mile, was having back spasms and that hadn't happened to him all season," Kaczor said. "It took him out of the top 10 to finishing where he did. He struggled."
Beckmann and Stimpfel are both sophomores and Naughton is a freshman.
"They kind of went towards the back at the start and tried to move up through the groups," Kaczor said of his runners on the whole. "If you want to race at this small and intimate of a race you have to be in the pack. It's a young group and they learned a valuable lesson today. When you've got guys (finishing) in the 40s at a MAC meet, that's not enough."
It was the eighth consecutive title and the 12th in the last 13 years for the Eastern men. It was the third straight league crown for the Eastern women.