Daily Egyptian

SIU cross-country keeps expectations in check

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

The Saluki men and women’s cross-country teams are in a different position a year after both teams entered the Missouri Valley Conference Championship ranked No. 2. 

Going into Saturday’s MVC Championship the men are ranked sixth and the women eighth. 

“I think we’re going to be right in the mix,” coach David Beauchem said. “The guys are ready to go.”

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The men’s team is led by senior Oscar Medina, a three-time all-MVC selection. He has the fifth-fastest 8K time in the conference this season at 24 minutes, 16.1 seconds.

“To know this is for the title just makes it more nerve-wracking,” Medina said. “We’ve been running all year for this one race.”

Beauchem said junior Brandon Shemonia, sophomore Jonathan Vara and freshmen Josh Maier and Eli Hill are the other key contributors for the men’s team. 

“A lot of people don’t know about us and how strong we are,” he said. “The team has come a long way.”

Beauchem said the women will be led by senior Krista Menghini, but the younger runners will use the meet as experience. 

“Krista has a chance to be all-conference again if she runs the race she’s capable of running,” he said. “The younger women just have to get some experience in the conference … and get a feel for what they need to do coming out of the meet to be at that level down the road.”

Last season Menghini finished all-conference after finishing 10th with a time of 17:30.19 at the MVC championship meet.

Menghini’s best time this year, 18:10.15, is No. 26 in the conference. She set the mark Oct. 16 at the Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa, Ala. 

The senior said she hopes to finish in the top-10 in what could be her last collegiate race. 

Medina and Menghini are the only seniors on a roster. Fourteen of the 24 runners are freshmen. 

Beauchem said the team is a work in progress, getting better with each meet. 

The conference championship begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at Angel Mounds State Historic Site in Evansville, Ind.

“Ninety percent of our season is evaluated by Saturday … that’s what it really comes down to for us,” Beauchem said.

Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @SCarleyDE.

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