The Slippery Rock University men’s cross country team competed in their final race last Saturday, before the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) meet.
The Go Fast River Run was held at West Branch Cross Country Course in Lock Haven.
The SRU men finished third out of 16 total teams at the meet. Lock Haven University won the meet with a total of 21 points, placing all five of their scorers in the top 10.
They were followed by Indiana University of Pennsylvania with 71 points. SRU rounded out the top three teams with 95 total points. California University of Pennsylvania with 115 points and the Pennsylvania State club team with 152 points completed the top five.
The remaining teams included Kutztown University, Gannon University, Mercyhurst University, Point Park University, West Liberty University, the University of Notre Dame, Houghton University, Fairmont State University, Lycoming University and Bethany University.
Seven of the 14 total PSAC teams competed at this race, making it a good indicator of what’s to be expected next week.
“This race was a good indicator of where we may fall at the championship meet, but the other half of the conference is also very competitive,” SRU head coach John Papa said.
Senior Aaron Dinzeo from California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U) not only won another meet, but set yet another course record this past weekend. Dinzeo covered the eight kilometer course in only 23:43, breaking the course record of former Cal U All-American Christopher Clark by 13 seconds. For the ninth time in his career, he was named the PSAC Athlete of the Week and has finished either first or second in all five races he has competed in this season. Dinzeo finished second at the conference meet last year and is now expected to win this season.
Rock freshman Jeremy Parsons led SRU for the fourth consecutive time this season, finishing eighth overall with a time of 25:37. Seniors Tyler Melius and Jaron Martin finished one place and also one second apart with times of 26:24 and 26:25, coming in 21 and 22 place. The top five spots for the Rock were completed by junior Ryan Thompson in 24 place at 26:28 and sophomore Ryan McGuire in 37 place at 26:51. Other SRU men that competed at Lock Haven included seniors Connor MacKelvey and Theo Reynolds, juniors Charlie Frank and Steve Green, sophomore Tyler Palenchak and freshman Jeff Henderson.
“This past weekend was collectively our best race yet, but there is still a lot of room for improvements,” Melius said. “We want to place at the top of the Conference and in order to do that we all have to have the best race of our lives.”
The Rock finished fifth out of 14 teams last year at the conference meet, and plans to move up a spot or two this year. The last time SRU won a championship meet was the 1991 season. Although the Rock doesn’t expect to finish first in the conference this year, they do plan to get as close to it as possible.
“The course we will be racing on at Mansfield will be a flat, fast course just like the one at Lock Haven,” Melius said. “With weather depending, PSACs should run just like it did at Lock Haven.”
The top 10 men on the team will compete on Mansfield’s home course on Nov. 8 in the race for the PSAC title.