Coming off of a successful 2013 campaign, the Slippery Rock University Women’s Cross Country team looks to remain competitive in 2014.
Entering his 28th year as the team’s head coach, John Papa has big expectations for this year’s team. Papa expects to finish in the top five in both the Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference and the Atlantic Region. These predictions come despite the graduation of three-time Capital One Academic All-District runner Kara Styles. Styles helped lead the team to three top five finishes out of their four regular season meets last season.
Last season’s team also sixth and seventh place finishes at the Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference Championships and at the NCAA Atlantic Regionals.
The Rock returns All-Conference senior runner, Janine Powis, and two All-Academic athletes in juniors Jenny Picot and Brittany Fagan. Papa thinks that Picot will have a successful season.
“Jenny had a good track season last year, and in our sport a good track season can usually translate into a great cross country year,” Papa said. “Fans can look forward to seeing improvements in all returning runners as they come back with one more year of experience and training.”
The Green and White hosts their home meets this year at the Cooper’s Lake Campground, just a few miles off campus. Other than their two regular season home meets, the Rock will also be playing host to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Atlantic Regionals.
“Here at Slippery Rock, we have the premier course in all of western Pennsylvania,” Papa said. “We hosted the national championships here back in 2008 and we regularly host the WPIAL championships. It’s an excellent course, but it’s also a challenging course.”
SRU will kick off their season on September 12 when they host the SRU 125 Invitational meet. They will then travel to Salisbury, Maryland to compete in the Don Cathcart Invitational before returning home to Slippery Rock for the Mack Cooper College/High School Invitational.