The Slippery Rock University men’s cross-country team took first place at the SRU 125 Invitational last Friday.
In his first collegiate race, SRU freshman Jeremy Parsons won the race. Parsons led the entire 8,000-meter course alone and crossed the finish line with a time of 26:08.
“I never thought my season would start out on such a strong note,” Parsons said. “To win my first invitational or even win a race never crossed my mind for this year.”
The Rock landed runners in both the first and second place spots at the SRU 125 Anniversary Invitational, as well as four other men joining them in the top 15.
There were 63 men that competed in the meet, including 13 SRU runners. The Rock dominated the meet with a total of 27 points, with Carnegie Mellon University following in second place with 34 points. Bloomsburg University, Seton Hill University and Mansfield University followed in the remaining three positions.
“It was very encouraging to see the men compete the way they did,” SRU head coach John Papa said. “I’m excited to see what we can do this season.”
SRU senior Tyler Melius, who also made his collegiate debut in cross-country, took second place with a time of 26:11.
“It feels good,” Melius said. “The nice thing is that I didn’t start in first place, so there’s room for improvement.”
Melius said he’s impressed with his team, and that he looks forward to the rest of the season.
“We’ve been working really hard all summer, and it’s nice to see the guys come out here and put in a solid effort,” Melius said. “Overall, we do have a strong group and some depth as well.”
Finishing fifth and sixth overall were SRU senior Jaron Martin and junior Ryan Thompson took fifth and sixth place with times of 26:39 and 26:42 respectively. Rock juniors Charlie Frank and Steve Green rounded out the top fifteen, placing 13 and 14 with times of 27:23 and 27:28 respectively.
“We had a great team effort on Friday,” SRU senior Jaron Martin said. “The team is only going to get stronger from here.”
Other finishers for the Rock included sophomores Ryan McGuire and Tyler Palenchak, as well as seniors Theo Reynolds and Connor MacKelvey. Joining Parsons in their first collegiate cross-country race were freshmen Devin VanGuilder, Jeff Henderson, Steve Zombek and Evan Zombek.
“Leading up to the race, we weren’t quite sure of the level of success that we could achieve, but after our successful performance, we realized that we can definitely contend with the top teams in the conference,” Martin said.
The Green and White’s next meet is in Salisbury, Maryland where they will compete at the Don Cathcart Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 27.