SRU XC to host PSAC Championships

Published by adviser, Author: Ryan Barlow - Sports Editor, Date: October 22, 2015
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Slippery Rock University will host several cross-country teams within the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) at its home course, Cooper’s Lake Campground, this Saturday for the PSAC Cross-Country Championships.
The site was the host of the NCAA Atlantic Regional meet in 2014, and also the previous host of the PSAC Championships in 2012. SRU cross-country head coach John Papa feels very fortunate that the university is able to have a host site such as Cooper’s Lake.
“A lot of schools do not have suitable sites to host this type of event,” Papa said. “It’s a great venue for everybody. We do not host just PSAC and NCAA events, but the high schools in the WPIAL also use our course for their big events. The biggest draw for this course is that it is spectator friendly. In a lot of courses, you see the runners take off and then come back in for the finish. The great thing about this course is that you can see everything that is going on.”
For the event, a total of 16 men’s and 18 women’s teams will compete. Nine of the top 10 men’s teams and all top 10 women’s teams of the Atlantic Region will be present during the event.
“We’re kind of used to hosting these kinds of things,” Papa said. “It takes a lot of teamwork. We are at the course a lot beforehand, cutting grass, painting, and pounding in the steaks.”
No. 25 Edinboro will look to defend its PSAC title in the women’s race. No. 13 Bloomsburg will look to make an impact at the race as well during the women’s event, along with No. 22 Shippensburg. The Rock women’s team, which is ranked fourth within the PSAC and does not have national honors, will rely on senior runner Leah Ann Wirfel. Papa decided to sit Wirfel in the team’s previous race to keep her rested for the championships.
For the men’s race, Slippery Rock turns to sophomore Jeremy Parsons to lead its program. Other top runners to compete include Lock Haven’s seniors Dylan Mountain and Matt Guiod. Both runners placed in the top 10 in 2014’s PSAC Championships, with Mountain finishing fourth and Guiod finishing ninth. The Lock Haven team is ranked No. 9 in all of Division II.
Shippensburg, the 2014 men’s champions, comes to SRU ranked No. 11 overall. The Red Raider’s lone returning top 10 finisher from last is Austin McGinley, who placed eighth.
For the men’s team to compete, Papa hopes his team’s home course advantage will play in as a factor.
“In our conference, our men and women are ranked fourth,” Papa said. “Sometimes, to beat better teams, it might take more than just home field advantage. I’m confident that everyone will give their best effort and run hard. If we run smart for the first part of the race then hopefully our training and confidence will kick in.”
The women’s event will be at 10 a.m., followed by the men’s race which is set for 12 p.m.
An award ceremony will be held for the both the men and women’s events shortly following the conclusion of the men’s race.

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