Albion trying to build on last year’s success

Published 12:42 pm Monday, August 11, 2003

By Staff
Albion College's distance runners are hoping to use the momentum generated from a successful spring on the track as a springboard for an outstanding fall cross country campaign.
Senior Nick Mockeridge, shown competing in the steeplechase last spring, is coming off an outstanding track season. The MIAA coaches selected him as the outstanding runner of the league meet. Photograph by Ben Engelter.
The Briton men received a boost from seniors Nick Mockeridge (Belleville/Belleville) and Taurean Wilson (Albion/Albion). Mockeridge was selected as the outstanding runner of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Track &Field Championships after logging 18,000 meters in the two-day event (finishing second in the steeplechase and 10,000 meters, and third in the 5,000 meters), while Wilson captured the league title in the 800 meters with a season-best time of 1:53.83.
Senior Julie Kamer (Fort Gratiot/Port Huron Northern) pushed the women's squad into the summer, achieving all-league status with a second place performance in the 5,000 meters at the league meet. Kamer, who lowered the school records in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters last spring, has also posted quality performances in summer races.
Albion's men are looking to improve on what was a remarkable 2002 cross country season. With five all-league performers on the trail, the Britons finished second in the MIAA and seventh at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.
The good news is the Britons have a solid core group of runners with the five all-league performers all returning to the roster. Mockeridge and junior Adam Dohm (Cassopolis/Dowagiac Union) achieved first team all-league and all-region status, while Wilson, senior Todd Falker (East Tawas/Tawas Area), and sophomore Jay Puffpaff (Ithaca/Ithaca) earned second team recognition last season.
Last November, Mockeridge was the third runner to cross the finish line at the league championship meet with a time of 25:41. The three-time first team all-league honoree just missed a repeat trip to the NCAA national championship meet, as the region lost two qualifiers due to the performance at the 2001 race.
Dohm saved his best performances for the MIAA races, finishing ninth at the jamboree in September with a time of 26:13, and 11th at the championship meet in November with a time of 26:18. His best time of the season, 25:51, was set in the first race of the season when the Britons ran against three MIAA teams in Holland, Mich.
Busy with off-campus studies last fall, Falker took part in just four races (the Bill Vanderbilt Invitational, the MIAA Jamboree, the MIAA Championship, and the NCAA Regional). At the league championship race, he shaved more than a minute off his time from the jamboree and crossed the finish line 14th with a time of 26:40.
Puffpaff and Wilson finished 17th and 18th, respectively, in the points system used to determine all-league awards. Both runners significantly lowered their times last season.
, with Puffpaff going from the mid-27 minute mark in the first three meets to 26:50 at the MIAA Championship and Wilson going from 28:04 at the MIAA Jamboree at 26:52 at the MIAA Championship.
While most coaches would be overjoyed to have five all-league performers on the roster, Smith is even more excited about the depth the Briton men should have in 2003. Also returning is last season's sixth runner, sophomore Nick Moroz (Northville/Northville), who just missed earning all-MIAA recognition after crossing the finish line 32nd at the MIAA Championship with a time of 27:36. Smith also hit the recruiting trail, adding eight first-year student-athletes and one transfer. The list of newcomers includes junior Ted Gast (Tucson, Ariz./Sahuaro), and freshmen David Brandt (Highland/Milford), Andrew and William Bushnell (Elmhurst, Ill./Missouri Military Academy), Adam Darany (Dearborn/Detroit Catholic Central), Mark Eisenman (Dearborn/Lutheran), Noah Lopez (Dearborn/Edsel Ford), Daniel Mobbs (Northville/Northville), and Paul Perez (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North).