In the first of three home meets at Cooper’s Lake Campground, the Slippery Rock men’s cross country squad took third place at the Mack Cooper Classic last Friday.
The Rock finished the meet with 84 points, finishing behind 28th ranked Wayne State (Michigan) and Carnegie Mellon, who finished first and second with 29 and 41 points, respectively. Rounding out the top five was fourth place Grove City College (101) and fifth place Washington & Jefferson College (126).
Head coach John Papa had mixed feelings about the squad’s performance on Friday, but acknowledged that injuries and illnesses affected the team, such as junior Travis Arrigoni’s absence from the meet.
Papa pointed out that some of the runners performed beyond expectations, while some others did not quite run to their full potential.
“We got beat by some teams that we should be able to beat by the season’s end.” said Papa.
The first Slippery Rock runner to cross the line was sophomore Jaron Martin, running the 8,000 meter course in 26:36, which put him in eighth place. This was Martin’s first time finishing first amongst the team.
“My performance was definitely my best with the team to date,” Martin said. “We had some really impressive performances from the younger runners; however, some of our veteran runners were not at their best, but we’re confident they will be where they need to be later in the season.”
Finishing second for Slippery Rock was senior Alex Koksal, who placed 16th overall with a time of 27:06.
Following Koksal was junior Morgan Elliott, who crossed two seconds later finishing in 19th.
Junior Michael Beegle finished in 22rd with a time of 27:13. Sophomore Theo Reynolds and freshman Steve Green finished directly behind Beegle with times of 27:14 and 27:15, respectively.
Rounding out the Rock’s top seven runners was senior Eric Geddis, who made his season debut after recovering from an ankle injury.
Geddis finished the 8K race in 27:16, placing 26th out of 78 runners.
“I was very happy with my effort, but I definitely have a ways to go,” said Geddis. “I will be ready to give it my all when it counts.”
The next task for the Slippery Rock squad will be Saturday at the Lock Haven Invitational, where they will run against mostly conference foes for the first time of the season.
The next home event for The Rock will be the SRU Invitational on October 6 at Cooper’s Lake Campground.