Eastern Kentucky garners sixth conference title in seven years
OXFORD, Ala. – For the sixth time in the last seven years, both Ohio Valley Conference cross country trophies will reside in Richmond, as Eastern Kentucky men’s and women’s teams swept the OVC Championships on Saturday at Oxford Lake.
It was No. 13 EKU men’s 21st overall and seventh consecutive conference title. The Colonels cruised to victory, resting several of their top runners and still taking spots 1-4 to finish with 17 points. Eastern Illinois was second with 70 points, while Southeast Missouri had 76 and Morehead State had 102 points.
Long-time EKU head coach Rick Erdmann earned his 19th OVC Men’s Coach of the Year award and 26th OVC Women’s Coach of the Year award following the meet.
Junior Soufiane Bouchikhi, the three-time defending OVC Male Cross Country Athlete of the Year, won his third consecutive individual conference title, defeating a field of 86 runners and covering the course in 24:01.75, the fastest 8K time in OVC Championships history. His victory marks the ninth consecutive year that a runner from EKU has won the OVC men’s title.
Bouchikhi was 27 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, sophomore Thijs Nijhuis, who finished second with a time of 24:28.83. Freshmen Amos Kosgey (24:34.48) and Mads Taersboel (24:36.68) finished third and fourth, respectively, while junior Erwin Leysen (24:47.10) finished seventh to round out EKU’s top five on the day.
All of EKU’s scoring five at the meet earned first team All-OVC honors.
Junior Adams Ronnoh (24:51.15) finished eighth and senior Daniel Jones (24:57.60) took 10th to earn second team All-OVC honors. Senior Musa Kimuli finished 21st with a time of 25:29.53.