The Slippery Rock women’s cross-country team competed in their first meet of the season Saturday in Edinboro University at the Doug Watts Distance Gala.
The girls succeeded in conquering Edinboro with a close score of 27 to 32.
Slippery Rock and Edinboro were the only two schools in the women’s race with enough runners to place. For many of the girls, it was their first ever cross-country race.
“I thought it went pretty well,” said SRU head coach John Papa. “It was the first race of the season for a lot of girls and they didn’t know what they were doing. They improved and gained some good experience.”
Leading the team this year is junior Melissa Rains, who placed second in the 3.1-mile race with a time of 18:32.4, leaving a 32-second gap between her and the fifth place runner. Following her lead was sophomore Courtney Group (19:08.5), senior Jordyn Hackett (19:33.6), junior Caitlyn Janeda (19:42.4) and junior Matti Dunham (19:44.4), who capped off the five scorers.
Sophomore Sabrina Palmieri and freshman Makaila Banka finished strong together in places nine and ten with times of 20:06.8 and 20:08.1 respectively.
Papa said he’s not sure where the team fits in in PSAC right now, but the team “will face a lot of teams in Kutztown next week, and get a better idea of team goals.”
The winning time on the course Saturday was Edinboro’s Emma Sullivan with a time of 18:13.2.
Even after many of the team’s top seven runners graduated last year, the team’s win promises a hopeful season ahead of them.
“By the end of the year, we’ll fill in some of those holes. In all the years I’ve coached I see everybody has potential to be significantly better than they are,” Papa said. Their next meet is Sept. 17 at Kutztown University.