It was an exciting finish to conclude the Slippery Rock University women’s cross country season opener at the Mack Cooper Classic.
Junior Janine Powis sealed her first victory as a collegiate XC runner in exciting fashion.
Carnegie Mellon’s Erin Kiekhaefer was leading Powis by about 75 meters with roughly 500 meters remaining on the course at Cooper’s Lake Campground.
Powis eventually pulled even with Kiekhaefer during the final stretch of 50 meters, and finished about half a second ahead of her to earn the victory.
“If you want to win, you got to go for it,” Powis said. “You just have to dig deep for that kind of stuff. Even when you don’t know if you have anything left, you can always find it.”
Despite Powis’ thrilling victory, Carnegie Mellon received the team victory for the day with 25 points to the Rock’s 30 points.
Mercyhurst University finished third with 89, Washington and Jefferson fourth with 107, and Salem International was fifth with 153 points.
Head coach John Papa gave his praises to Powis and was overall impressed with the team’s effort on Friday.
“We had a lot of question marks for our ladies team coming in (Friday). I didn’t really know for sure what we had,” Papa said. “It looks like everybody is willing to compete, and Janine showed at the end that she obviously wanted to win.”
The Rock placed their five scorers in the top 10, as well as eight runners in the top 15.
Sarah Wirth, a freshman, was the second finisher for Slippery Rock with a time of 24:20 to earn fifth overall.
The next three Rock finishers were Jenny Picot in sixth, Brittany Fagan in eighth, and Karly Knechtel in tenth with times of 24:20, 24:26, and 24:58 respectively.
Freshman Sara Miller placed 11th with a time of 24:59 and senior Justine Barr scored 13th, crossing the line at 25:01.
Coach Papa also had praise for the younger runners as well.
“Wirth, Miller, Picot, and Fagan all did a real nice job for us,” Papa said. “Right down the line we had a good performance, and it was a good indicator that we’re going to have a real nice season this year.”
The Green and White’s season will continue this weekend at Lock Haven University for the LHU Invitational.