June 18, 2024

On Saturday, when Lorin Conti, ’16, was the first to cross the finish line in humid Snyder Park. She did more than just secure herself a victory in the season’s opening meet. She put an exclamation point on the premiere of the Wittenberg Invitational — the first home cross country meet for the Tigers in more than half a decade. The meet not only carried sentimental value, but also gave both the Tiger men and women’s cross country teams a win to open the season.
The meet was the first hosted by the Tiger cross country team in at least five years, when the Tigers hosted a regular season meet at John Bryant State Park prior to the NCAC championships being held that year.
The head cross country coach Gene Penney said that scheduling a home meet was driven by “access to Snyder Park and the cooperation of Parks and Rec.”
WEB 150905_MCC_WittenbergInvitational_Nick Falzerano_053The 5-kilometer track stretched across what used to be Snyder Park golf course, which is now being turned into green-space.
After the race, Nick Stradler, ’16, said of his first home meet, “As a four-year senior, it was awesome to run here . . . to come out here and see a crowd like this; I wish every meet could be like this.”
The Tigers raced to victory on both the men and women’s sides in front of a crowd estimated at around 100 — mostly Wittenberg supporters. The Tigers outscored their three opponents, notching a mark 15 in the meet, with Urbana University coming in second with 54. The men were led by Jon Osman, ’17, and Charles Rodeheffer, ’19, who finished neck and neck, claiming the first two spots for the Tigers and propelling them to a total score of 20 with eight of the top 10 spots.
According to Penney, Wittenberg looks to host the event on an annual basis. WEB 150905_MCC_WittenbergInvitational_Nick Falzerano_238
“Hosting is something that is important for our runners and the alumni in the area,” and the team had been “barking for a home meet,” Penney said. He continued, “This is a busy weekend for meets, so we will be trying to find a weekend where we can get more teams here.”
While Penney expects Snyder Park to be a “very flat and quick course moving forward, it was the heat that defined the course on Saturday.”
When asked to describe the course after, Stradler said, “Hot. It was flat, but there was very little shade out there, and the sun was pounding down on us.” Stradler was quick to add “but that’s cross country.”
Looking forward to this season, Penney is optimistically saying “the needle is pointing up.” Penney went on to say that “our training and attitude have put us in a good position.”
The Tigers run next at the Kenyon Invitational at a conference preview Saturday, Sept. 12.

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