After a long season of running in the heat and finishing their last race in freezing rain and snow, the Slippery Rock University men’s cross-country season came to a close on Nov. 22 at the Division II Atlantic Regionals meet.
The men ran some unforgettable races in their 2014 season, including the two races that they took home the team titles for.
Winning their first race, the SRU 125 Invitational, gave the team a boost of confidence for the season to come. Following this win, the men traveled to Salisbury, Maryland where they won the Don Cathcart Invitational.
The team also competed on Lock Haven University’s course for the ‘Go Fast River Run’ where they placed third as a team.
Finishing up their season with the two biggest races for the team, SRU took sixth place at both the Pennsylvania State Athletic Championship race held in Mansfield, and the Division II Atlantic Regional meet held on their very own course.
The team was predicted to place fifth at the PSAC meet at the beginning of the season, but the men made it their mission to place a spot or two higher to try and achieve the National qualification. Unfortunately, the team fell short of their goal and placed sixth.
“As a team, I felt that we never really lived up to our potential or put it all together on the same day,” junior Steve Green said.
Green said his team had a lot of great individual races this season.
“We did, however, have a lot of great performances and some standout individual performances throughout the season,” Green said.
Among the standout performances for the men’s team this season was freshman Jeremy Parsons’ first collegiate win. At the first race of the season, Parsons covered the 8K course in 26:08, making it his best first race ever.
Later in the season at the PSAC meet, Parsons and senior Jaron Martin were awarded second team All-PSAC honors for placing in the top-30. Two weeks later, the two snagged All-Region honors for placing in the top-25.
Overall, the men saw substantial improvements in their team and continued to always mix it up among the order that they finished compared to one another. The team saw some great competition towards the end of their season and maintained a solid pack of runners to remain competitive.
“I’m very proud of the men’s efforts and I’m happy to say we ended the season on a positive note,” SRU head coach John Papa said. “I think that the best race of the season was our last; a final race here at Cooper’s Lake for Regionals.”
Although this season marks the final cross-country season for seniors like Jaron Martin, Tyler Melius and Theo Reynolds, all runners will now turn their attention to the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons to come this winter and spring.