Matt Link is going national … again.
Edinboro University defended its NCAA Division II Atlantic region cross country title Saturday, meaning the sophomore from Avon Lake will get to make another appearance at the national championships on Nov. 17 at Missouri Southern State University.
Link finished seventh Saturday with a time of 31.33.01 in the 8K race, good for All-Region honors.
Unlike last year, the team’s success was expected. Edinboro is 12th in the nation and put all seven of its runners — none of whom are seniors — on the All-Region team (top 25).
“I think it was a little bit more exciting last year,” Link said. “We didn’t really know how strong of a team we were, but this year we really had established this team. The rest of the region knew we were tough and the ones to beat.”
Last year Link finished 21st in the Atlantic region and was the seventh-place runner on his team at nationals. Link plans to use that experience to improve his time this time around.
“I was unconfident in my abilities last year,” Link said. “I was tired and it was a long season. It was tough for me to go into the race and put myself in it. This year I’ve made a big jump and I’m ready to compete.”
A big difference for Link is that he said he’s learned how to jump ahead of the pack early and to maintain that lead and not panic as the race wears on.
“When there’s a surge in the race or something’s not going right, I’ve learned how to keep focused and finish,” Link said.
Link is an English major who is studying middle level education and hopes to one day teach English as a second language. He loves listening to a wide array of music, but Led Zeppelin and Nirvana are two of his favorite bands.
When he’s not studying or training, he is usually hanging out at the Fun House — an off-campus house for the cross country team.
In other cross country news …
- Ithaca sophomore Alexa Rick’s second-place finish at the Empire 8 Championships helped the Bombers win their 10th straight conference championship. The Elyria Catholic graduate finished with a time of 18:22.12 and earned first-team All-Empire 8 honors.
- Denison senior Michelle Clark finished sixth at the North Coast Athletic Conference Championship at The College of Wooster on Oct. 27. The Elyria Catholic grad had a time of 23:23.2, 52 seconds behind the winner, and good enough for first-team honors.
- Memphis sophomore Dan Kuhman finished 14th at the Conference-USA Championship, good enough for All-Conference honors. The Elyria Catholic graduate clocked in at 25:10.20, the second-best finish for the Tigers.
- Ashland senior Gary Haglund finished 43rd at the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional. The Amherst graduate ran a 32:16 and the Eagles finished second, qualifying for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 17.
- Dayton senior and Amherst grad Kyle Lowry finished 44th at the Atlantic 10 Championship on Oct. 27 in a time of 26:44.
- Sophomore Nicole Armstrong, an Avon graduate, finished with a time of 19:30.20 for the Flyers at the Atlantic 10 Championship. That was good for 71st.
- John Carroll freshman Angelica Bucci finished 35th at the Ohio Athletic Conference Championships on Oct. 27. The Amherst graduate recorded a time of 25:11.20.
- Ohio Northern junior and Midview graduate Gabi Patarini finished 76th at the OAC Championships with a time of 26:44.20.
- Capital sophomore and Keystone graduate Samantha Watts clocked in at 27:07.10 at the OAC Championships for an 85th-place finish.
- Heidelberg junior and Black River graduate David Kindall did not run at the OAC Championships due to an injury.
Medvetz, Vikings champs
- Cleveland State senior and Elyria graduate Amanda Medvetz had 10 digs on senior night in a 3-2 win over Valparaiso on Saturday. The victory gave the Vikings a 12-1 record and clinched the outright Horizon League regular-season championship. Medvetz is closing in on 1,000 digs (939) and is 114 away from cracking the top 10 in school history.
- Walsh senior Hannah Duran had 36 assists in a 3-1 loss to Malone on Tuesday. The Midview graduate leads the Cavaliers with 660 assists and has 4,067 for her career, good enough for sixth on the all-time list. With two matches remaining, Duran is 125 assists away from fifth.
- Senior Jacki Street had 13 kills in a 3-1 OAC quarterfinal victory over Marietta. The Midview graduate led the team with 11 kills in the OAC semifinals despite falling to Mount Union. Street finished her career with 1,063 kills — eighth in Heidelberg history.
- Wisconsin sophomore and former Lorain County Miss Volleyball winner Deme Morales had four kills, three blocks and three digs in a 3-0 loss to Penn State on Sunday. The Amherst graduate’s match was televised on ESPN2.
- Junior Zoe Zwegat finished with 10 total blocks — two solo — for Wooster, which finished fourth at the NCAC Tournament in Springfield. The Elyria Catholic graduate had five blocks in the Scots’ 3-1 quarterfinal victory over Denison. Zwegat, another former Miss Volleyball winner, finished the year with a team-high 98 blocks, 32 solo.
- Junior Tara Skinner led Grove City with 12 digs in a 3-0 loss to Bethany at the Presidents’ Athletic Conference quarterfinals at Hummel Field House. The Community Christian graduate finished the year with a team-high 479 digs.
- Elyria Catholic graduate and former Lorain County Miss Volleyball winner Sara Kaminski concluded a successful freshman season for John Carroll with a team-high 463 digs. Vermilion graduate Julia Clark, a junior on the team, finished with 50 kills and nine blocks.
- Baldwin Wallace sophomore and Elyria graduate Paige Pileski finished the season with 225 digs, the fifth most on the team.
Sisters win title
- Avon Lake graduates Dana and Jillian Strimbu, freshmen sisters, each saw significant playing time on Otterbein’s OAC regular-season championship soccer team. Dana made three saves and allowed one goal in the finale against Capital on Oct. 27. Jillian scored the Cardinals’ only goal in a 2-1 loss to Ohio Northern in the OAC semifinals on Oct. 30. Dana finished the year with 13 starts and 16 appearances with a 10-4 record and 40 saves. Jillian finished with four goals and two assists in 19 games and four starts.
- Kent State senior Megan Repas finished her season with one goal and four assists and the Golden Flashes fell in the MAC semifinals 3-1 to Miami (Ohio). The Avon graduate finished in a four-way tie for second on the career assists list with 17.
- Oberlin sophomore and Oberlin High School graduate Abby Weiss finished the season with one goal, which came against Wittenberg on Sept. 29.'
- Lake Ridge Academy graduate Samantha Potoczak recorded one assist 16 appearances and three starts for Lafayette in her freshman season.
- Vermilion graduate Katelyn Peterson finished her junior season with three shots — one on goal — in 18 starts for Ashland.
- Taylor Miller finished her junior season with three shots — one on goal — for Cleveland State. The Avon Lake graduated appeared in nine games and made four starts.
- Amherst graduate Heather Low finished her sophomore season with one shot in seven games for Baldwin Wallace.
Elwer finishes strong
- Freshman David Elwer started seven games and made 18 appearances for Cincinnati State’s soccer team during its run to the NJCAA national tournament. The Elyria Catholic graduate has four goals and an assist. The Surge won the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference title, the NJCAA Region 12 Championship and advanced to the national tournament with a 2-1 win over Baltimore County-Essex in the district championship. Pool play begins for the Surge against Northwest College on Saturday, Nov. 13, at noon and Louisburg on Nov. 14 at 2:30 p.m.
- Freshman Andrew Souders started for No. 1-ranked Akron on senior night in a 1-0 win over Western Michigan. It was the Amherst graduate’s 14th appearance and seventh start for the regular-season Mod-American Conference champions.
- Slippery Rock freshman Ryan Lutke scored in a 2-1 win over Gannon University. The Elyria Catholic graduate finished the year with four goals in 18 appearances and 13 starts.
- Louisville sophomore and Amherst graduate Alex Obbey will end the season with a goal and an assist should the Cardinals fail to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament on Monday.
- Stephen Saddler started 12 games with 16 total appearances for Tiffin. The freshman and Elyria Catholic graduate had an assist and two shots. Fellow Elyria Catholic graduate and freshman Will Birsic made seven appearances.
Contact Chris Sweeney at 329-7135 or email@example.com.