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Cross country program ready for OVC championships

For their second year in the Ohio Valley Conference, the Belmont men’s and women’s cross-country teams expect to be improve on last year’s successes in the OVC regional championships in November.

Ashley Casavant, assistant distance coach to the cross-country and track teams, has been working with Belmont’s cross-country program for four years.

“They’re going to be prepped and ready come November, and that’s what we’re shooting for,” Casavant said, “I think big things can happen, I really do.”

For their first year competing in the OVC, Belmont cross-country made a strong showing in a talented field.

“We didn’t really know how we would stack up, and quite frankly, nobody even thought of Belmont coming in there and making a splash,” Casavant said.

At their first OVC championships, Belmont’s men’s and women’s teams placed 5th and 2nd, respectively, out of the 12 conference teams.

OVC cross country championship races will be held Saturday, November 2 at Eagle Head Golf Course in Morehead, Ken. Belmont cross-country will face one of their strongest conference opponents at the championship races, Eastern Kentucky University, who took both the men’s and women’s championship titles in 2012.

Unlike most other competitive conferences that run 6-kilometer races, OVC cross-country races are only 5-kilometers long, but Casavant says the length difference doesn’t make a difference in the team’s training.

“I think when you’re at this level and you’re training at the mileage at you’re training at, there’s really not a crazy difference in a kilometer,” Casavant said. “Obviously some runners are going to argue that on a race day, because you’re going feel it, but more often than not, you don’t, and you’re prepared for it.”

After racing in the OVC championships, the team’s last race will be Nov. 15 at the NCAA Division I regional championships, where only the top two teams from each region will advance to the national championship races.

“That’s not something we’re necessarily gunning for this year, realistically, but hopefully in the years to come,” Casavant said.

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