Competing without their top runner, the Slippery Rock University Women’s Cross Country team took fifth at the Lock Haven Go Fast River Run meet on Saturday.
The fifth place ranking was their lowest place this season.
The team went into the event ranked fifth overall in the region, and were looking for a good outing to cement their top five position. This meet was the team’s last tune-up before they compete at the conference championships on Nov. 8.
The Rock was without junior top runner Jenny Picot, who was out with an illness. Lock Haven University came in first place over Indiana University of Pennsylvania by way of a tiebreaker after each team scored 82 points. Kutztown University finished with 95 points in third place, and California University of Pennsylvania came in fourth place with 102 points. Finishing in fifth place, SRU scored a total of 116 points. There were 19 teams that competed in the meet.
“Jenny’s gotten some rest and she should be ready to go for the championship next week,” SRU head coach John Papa said.
Despite the absence of usual top five runner Picot, the Green and White still placed two runners in the top 25 and seven in the top 50. 191 runners finished the 6000 meter race, 15 of which were from the Rock. The top overall runner was Julie Friend from California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U), who posted a time of 21:47.
Senior Janine Powis paced the Rock runners with a time of 22:48, finishing in ninth place. Behind Powis was fellow senior Angelica Bagwell in 16 place with a time of 23:09. The third scorer for the Rock was freshman Rebekah Zee, who came in 28 place with a time of 23:36. The final two scorers for the Rock were sophomore Kaylee Haberkam and junior Brittany Fagan. Haberkam finished the race right behind Zee in 29 place with a time of 23:40. Fagan had a time of 23:49 and finished in 34 place. Although not in the top 5 Rock runners, freshmen Tessa Dombi and Erin Allison also had strong showings. Dombi finished 38th overall in 23:55 and Allison in 42nd at 24:06.
“I think all the girls tried extra hard to finish higher in the standings than they normally do,” Papa said.
The Green and White runners will have one week off before they compete at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship meet at Mansfield. SRU got a preview of the competition for the championship this week as ten Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference schools competed at Lock Haven. Cal U, Cheyney University, Clarion University, Gannon University, IUP, Kutztown, Lock Haven University, Mercyhurst University, Millersville University, and SRU all competed on Saturday, and will meet again at the PSAC Championships in two weeks.
“Our season basically boils down to how well we do in the next two races,” Papa said. “They are big in determining how successful we can say this season was. We need the girls to remain calm and not let their nerves burn up too much energy early in these races.”