Women’s cross-country takes second place at Doug Watts Distance Gala

Published by , Author: Cameron Bildhauer - Rocket Contributor, Date: September 10, 2015
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The Slippery Rock women’s cross-country team placed second out of nine teams at Edinboro University Saturday, competing in the Doug Watts Distance Gala on for its first official race of the season.

Edinboro finished the race in first with a score of 35 points, as Slippery Rock finished with 36 points. Indiana University finished third with a final score of 71 points.

“We were pleased with second place to last year’s PSAC Champs, Edinboro,” head coach John Papa said. “I know that Edinboro did not run all of their ladies due to injuries, however, we gave them a good run.”

Coach Papa knows that his team must improve greatly if they want to beat Edinboro the next time they face them at the PSAC Championships.

The top finisher for SRU, senior Leah Anne Wirfel, finished second overall in the 5,000 meter race with a time of 17:18. The senior transfer from High Point University finished just four seconds behind the leader, and finished more than a minute ahead of the third place finisher. Slippery Rock also got help from three other top 10 finishers. Senior Jenny Picot finished sixth at 18:49, sophomore Melissa Rains in seventh at 18:53 and junior Alexis Swiergol in tenth at 19:39.

Following the top 10 finishers were a pack of four more Slippery Rock runners that placed 11 through 14. Sophomore Erin Allison finished 11th at 19:39, senior Jessica Bennett in 12th at 19:41, sophomore Caitlyn Janeda in 13th at 19:54, and sophomore Challis Roberts in 14th at 20:10. Another pack of five runners finished 16-20 for Slippery Rock, making that 13 out of the top 20 finishers from SRU.

“I think our race at Edinboro gave many of our runners a great deal of confidence for this season,” Papa said. “The ladies are motivated to do the little things that it takes to be ready for our best effort by the end of the season.”

Papa is looking forward to the rest of the season as the team will be getting some runners back that were rehabbing due to injury.

“Right now things seem to be going pretty well for the team,” Papa said. “We have been a bit conservative with the workouts and that seems to be working well. We have kept the injuries to a minimum and a few ladies that were injured from last year are rehabbing well and should be back with us soon.”

The Green and White will have this weekend off as they prepare for the SRU Invitational on September 18 at Cooper’s Lake Campground.

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