The Slippery Rock women’s cross country team took sixth place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championships at its home site, Cooper’s Lake Campground, Saturday.
Edinboro took the title again with a total of 90 points, East Stroudsburg in second with 102 points, and Shippensburg rounded out the top 3 with 111 points. In fourth place was California with 121 points, followed by Bloomsburg with 125 points, and Slippery Rock in sixth with a total of 135 points.
“We were surprised to hear that we finished 6th. The top six teams were very close in the scoring, and most of our girls ran personal best on our cross country course,” head Coach John Papa said. “We were disappointed with sixth, but I was pleased with the effort our ladies gave.”
Leah Anne Wirfel and Jenny Picot each earned first team All-Conference honors. The top 15 finishers are honored with first team All-PSAC selections and finishers 16-30 are honored with second team All-PSAC. Wirfel was with the front of the pack for most of the race and finished in fifth place in 22:03. Picot finished 15th in 22:48, earning her second straight first team All-PSAC honor.
“I was excited for Jenny and Leah Ann earning all-conference, because there are so many outstanding runners in our conference,” Papa said. “I was also excited for the other ladies that had personal bests and ran courageously for SRU.”
Finishing third for the Rock and 34th overall was Jessica Bennett with a time of 23:50, followed by Melissa Rains in 38th in 23:52 and Tessa Dombi rounded out the point scorers with a 43rd place finish in 23:56. Kaylee Haberkam finished 44th in 23:59 and Shannon Byerly finished 54th with a time of 24:13.
Coach Papa wants to prepare for regionals by taking some easy days off to recover from the PSACs. Then the team will follow up with some faster type workouts to get ready for Lock Haven, which is flat and fast.
“We know that we can do a little bit better with the hopes of moving into the top three teams, which would qualify us for nationals,” Papa said.
The Rock will have the weekend off as they prepare for the Atlantic Regional championships where the top three teams will earn a trip to the national championship meet. The Regional championships will take place on November 7 at Lock Haven.
“Since our team is healthy, the two week break won’t be too much of an impact on us,” Papa said. “We typically have a week off between races as do most other teams so I do not feel it will be a factor.”