Holubeck wins first MEC title

Luke Holubeck is on a roll.

After going nearly his entire college career without a victory he’s won two straight.

The latest came Saturday in record-breaking fashion at the inaugural Mountain East Conference Cross Country Championships at Pipestem State Park in Athens, W.Va.

Holubeck won the race with a course-best time of 25:55 and earned Runner of the Year honors. The victory came two weeks after he captured the Carnegie Mellon Invitational at Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park.

”It was kind of a surprise,” Holubeck, a St. John Central grad, said of the record during a phone interview. ”I didn’t even know what it was.”

Holubeck said his coach, Ricky Moore, simply urged him to ”go for it.”

”It was about four miles in,” Holubeck said. ”He didn’t tell me what the record was, but he was hoping I could get it.”

And he did. However, the most-enjoyable part for Holubeck was seeing how the team finished.

”The finish was exhilarating,” he said. ”But one of the best feelings was, as I crossed the finish line, looking back and seeing by teammates coming in. That was an even better feeling than me crossing the finish line.”

WJU’s Patrick Stanton was second, while the Cards’ Joe Molek was third. Matt Riffle, Holubeck’s high school teammate, was sixth for Wheeling Jesuit.

”I was really excited,” Holubeck said about the team’s finish. ”We couldn’t have asked for a better race. We did what we were supposed to. I’m happy for everyone out there.”

The Cardinals finished with 27 points. West Virginia Wesleyan was second, followed by Concord, Notre Dame, U.Va.-Wise, West Liberty, Fairmont State, Urbana and Glenville State.

Moore was named Coach of the Year.

”He was pretty excited with that,” Holubeck said.

The victory certainly upped Holubeck’s excitement for the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional, which will take place in two weeks in Lockhaven, Pa.

”It’s a big confidence booster,” he said. ”I’m going to need to be mentally strong and keep up that drive.”

Wheeling Jesuit and West Liberty were second and third in the women’s race, won by West Virginia Wesleyan.

Charleston was fourth, followed by Fairmont State, Notre Dame, Concord, U.Va.-Wise, Glenville State and West Virginia State.

Michelle Pottratz, Jen McFarland and Jess Zimak earned first-team honors from Wheeling Jesuit.

Second-team accolades went to West Liberty’s Elena Romanek, Leah Figurski and Alexis Virtue, along with the Cards’ Rachel Wadell. Romanek is a Wheeling Park grad, while Figurski attended Buckeye Local and Virtue went to Weir.