INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s been said history has a tendency to repeat itself. One would be hard pressed to disagree when looking at the previous Horizon League champions on both the men’s and women’s side.
In the 34 years the Horizon League has crowned a men’s champion, there has been four different schools to win a League Championship. Starting in 1982, Notre Dame took 10 of the next 13 Championships. Not to be out done, Butler strung together an amazing 15 consecutive League Championships from 1997-2011.
In the past 27 years of Horizon League women’s cross country, five schools have found themselves on top of the podium, with Butler leading the way at 13 Championships.
So that begs the question, where does this leave the current nine-team Horizon League?
On the men’s side, none of the current programs have won a Horizon League title. Meanwhile, Detroit is the only Horizon League women’s team to win a League Championship, with its triumph coming in 1987.
Here are the following teams who appear to be poised to etch their name in the Horizon League record book, starting on the men’s side.
When Milwaukee crosses the finish line on Saturday, don’t be surprised to see a pack of Panthers.
At the Falcon Invite on Sept. 14, four runners finished within 35 seconds of each other, a mere 12 seconds behind the lead set by sophomore Weston Brusky. During the Panthers last outing at the Bradley “Pink” Classic, all 10 runners finished just 1 minute and 3 seconds apart with sophomore Gerrit Bruni leading the way.
The Panthers’ season has been highlighted thus far by a victory on Sept. 14 in Mequon, Wis. at the Falcon Invitational. The Panthers got off to a fast start and took four of the top five places to score 21 points.
In Milwaukee’s latest start on Oct. 18, at the aforementioned Bradley “Pink” Classic, the Panther men raced to a 10th place finish out of 22 teams.
Youngstown State has been led this season by senior Eric Rupe’s two wins. At the Disney World Cross Country Classic on Oct. 11, Rupe led the Penguins to a second-place finish. His 8K time of 25:05.46 topped a field of 152 runners. Earlier in the year on Sept. 5, Rupe registered his first career win at the Tommy Evans Invitational. The senior has registered three Player of the Week honors this season.
The Penguins last outing on Oct. 19 was at the Indiana State Pre-National Invitational, site of the 2013 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship.
The event, which drew many of the top programs in the country, saw the Penguins finish the white race in 14th place. In the process, the team topped last year’s runner-up at the Horizon League Cross Country Championship, UIC. The Flames finished in 19th place.
In their first year as a League member, Oakland appears ready to contend. The Golden Gizzlies have been led by strong performances from Michael Cox. The sophomore opened his season with a win at the Golden Grizzly Open, completing the 5K course in 15:50.2.
Freshman Andrew Bowman has been another solid placer for the Golden Grizzlies, finishing fourth at both the Golden Grizzly Open and the Detroit Titan Invitational. He also registered a 12th place finish at the Western International Invitational and a 20th place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational.
On the women’s side, Youngstown State enters today’s race ranked No. 15 in the Great Lakes Region by USTFCCCA. The squad has been led by Samantha Hamilton. For the season, the senior has competed in three races and has yet to finish outside the top six.
The Penguins took ninth at the Indiana State Pre-National Invitational on Oct. 19. Hamilton’s 6K time of 20:41.07 put her in third place out of the 227 runners in the white race.
Another runner of note for the Penguins is Anna Pompeo. Pompeo took sixth-place at the Disney World Cross Country Classic, posting a 5K time of 17:45.70 and also placed 10th at the Indiana State Pre-National Invitational, completing the 5K course in 21:22.57.
UIC, runner up at the 2012 Horizon League Cross Country Championship, posted a slim victory earlier this fall over Milwaukee at the College of DuPage Invitational on Sept. 27.
Tess Ehrhardt completed the 5K course in a time of 18:11.7 to finish in the lead by nearly 10 seconds. For the season, Ehrhardt has registered three Horizon League Runner of the Week honors.
Overall, the squad returns four All-League performers from a year ago. Ehrhardt finished in sixth-place at the 2012 League Championship to earn First Team All-League honors; while Emma Preston (ninth-place), Rebecca Zaiter (10th place) and Lauren Lindhom (12th place) earned Second Team honors.
Milwaukee has been led this season by freshman Ally Anich. In her first collegiate start at the Falcon Invitational, the newcomer posted a course record time of 21:44, more than 40 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
At the Panthers’ final tune-up of the regular season, ten runners posted personal-best times at the Bradley “Pink” Classic as the team finished in 16th place. Anich took 14th place overall with a 6K time of 21:31.
Detroit, the only men’s or women’s team in Saturday's field with a Horizon League Championship, started the season with a second and third place finish at the Golden Grizzly Open and the Running Fit-Detroit Titan Invitational, respectively.
The Titans have been led by senior Louisa Coppola. The senior opened her season with back to back wins and has yet to finish outside of the top 14 this season.
The Titans finished in seventh-place at the Penn State National on Oct. 18. Coppola registered a seventh-place finish with a 6K time of 21:52.
Seven Runners to Watch-Men
Weston Brusky, Sophomore, Milwaukee
Michael Cox, Sophomore, Oakland
Photis Karkalis, Junior, UIC
Martin Nelkie, Senior, Detroit
Andrew Bowman, Freshman, Oakland
Eric Rupe, Junior, Youngstown State
Dan Shafer, Senior, Wright State
Seven Runners to Watch-Women
Ally Anich, Freshman, Milwaukee
Louisa Coppola, Senior, Detroit
Tess Ehrhardt, Junior, UIC
Samantha Hamilton, Senior, Youngstown State
Tori Holt, Junior, Cleveland State
Sammy Mondry, Freshman, Oakland
Jessica Richardson, Sophomore, Valparaiso
The 2013 Horizon League Cross Country Championships takes place on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Boardman Cross Country Course in Boardman, Ohio. The men's race starts at 11:00 a.m. with the women scheduled to follow at 12:00 p.m. Click here for more information on the Championship, a tour of the course and last year's results.