The Slippery Rock University men’s and women’s cross country team had three athletes receive All-
Conference honors at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships on Saturday at Kutztown University, as the men’s team placed fifth and the women’s team took home sixth.
The SRU men’s team had two seniors break into the top-20 with impressive All-PSAC performances. Senior Morgan Elliott led the squad with a ninth-place finish in 25:55.5 and senior captain Alex Koksal placed 12th, covering the 8,000-meter course in 26:03.7.
Senior Michael Beegle crossed the line third for the team, placing 32nd in 26:41.9. Sophomore Charlie Frank was the Rock’s fourth scorer in 48th with a time of 27:15.1. Right behind Frank, and rounding out the scorers, was freshman Ryan McGuire, who took 49th in 27:17.2.
Even though the team had a decent showing at PSACs, their eyes are set on the Atlantic Regional Championships in two weeks at Lock Haven. The top three teams at Regionals will earn a berth to the NCAA National Championships, and the men’s squad is hungry for that ticket.
“The team had some significant performances, but when it comes down to it, we didn’t perform well enough,” Beegle said. “We need every man to step up and have the best race of the season at Regionals, or our chance of going to Nationals is slim. We all run and train together at practice, so we all need to compete at that same level of intensity and aim for our top seven men to get in the top-30.”
On the ladies side, junior captain Janine Powis led the way with an All-PSAC 20th place finish in 23:05.8.
This is Powis’ first career All-Conference honor.
“I am really happy about being All-PSAC. It was one of my goals for the season,” Powis said. “The race was very intense. Spectators were yelling what place I was around, so I knew it was going to be close if I wanted to be in the top 20. My whole focus from then on was to keep picking off runners in front of me.”
Senior Kara Styles was the second runner for the Rock to cross the finish line, placing 24th and covering the 6,000-meter course in 23:16.4.
Sophomore Jenny Picot was the third scorer for SRU, running a time of 23:54.8 to earn 42nd place. Freshmen Sara Miller and Sarah Wirth placed 49th and 52nd, respectively, with times of 24:08.9 and 24:11.5 to cap the scorers.
The ladies squad has also set some higher goals and expectations for the Regional Championships coming up.
“For Regionals, we just have to continue working on getting our top couple of girls closer together in the race and working together,” Powis said.
The top four squads at the Regional meet will earn a trip to the National meet in Spokane, WA.