The Slippery Rock men’s cross country team took fourth place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships this past Saturday at Cooper’s Lake Campground, missing third by only six points.
Edinboro took first place at the PSAC meet, finishing with 34 points. Taking second was East Stroudsburg with 59 points, followed by Lock Haven with 88 points, the Rock with 94 points, and Shippensburg with 162 points.
Head coach John Papa was pleased with his team’s effort in the race, as they were in competition for a spot on the podium with East Stroudsburg and Lock Haven for the entire race.
Papa believes there is a lot of reason for optimism, after missing third by a mere six points.
“In my opinion, this was by far our best race of the year,” said Papa, “A 13 second spread between our first and fifth place finishers is really impressive.”
When asked about the possibilities of reaching nationals, Papa said there was a very strong chance. To reach nationals, Slippery Rock must finish in the top three at Regionals next weekend.
The squad was led by all-PSAC performances from sophomore Chris Grooms and junior Michael Beegle.
Grooms took 14th, finishing the 8,000 meter course in 26:17. Beegle finished in 26:22, claiming 17th.
“I finally had a good race, so I’m really excited to see what I can do next weekend,” Beegle said about his effort on Saturday.
Coming in 21st, and just missing an all-PSAC honor was junior Travis Arrigoni, who crossed the finish line in 26:27.
Finishing directly behind Arrigoni were seniors Eric Geddis and Alex Koksal who finished the course in 26:29 and 26:30, good for 22nd and 23rd, respectively.
“It was my best performance,” said Geddis, “But for what our team goals are, all of us are going to have to what we did at PSACs, but better. We saw what we need to do and it’s in reach, we just need to go take it.”
To prepare for the regional meet, the Rock is planning on keeping the same routine that got them to this point, according to Beegle.
The NCAA Atlantic Regional meet will be held at Lock Haven University on November 3.
The top three teams in the standings will earn a ticket to the NCAA Division II National Championships in Joplin, Mo.