Men’s cross-country takes fifth at Lock Haven, Parsons tops field

Published by , Author: Justin Kraus - Contributor, Date: September 26, 2016

The Lock Haven Invitational on Saturday, held at held at the West Branch Cross Country Course, housed 15 competitive teams. The meet featured 12 schools and the club teams of Penn State, Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania.

The Penn State Club team took home first place with 38 points. Davis and Elkins University was the top collegiate finisher with 60 points in second, followed by the University of Lock Haven with 80, Juniata College with 137 and Slippery Rock rounded out the top five just barely behind with a team score of 140.

“Our guys competed really well.” Rock head coach John Papa said. “We’re not really used to training on a flat surface, it’s a little different. But we got a good workout in.”

Out of 202 total runners, junior Jeremy Parsons owned the course on Saturday; he topped all collegiate runners and finished the course in 25:20, dominating the field with a finish 29 seconds better than the next competitor.

“It really shows you how he’s an elite runner in this conference.” Papa said of Parson’s dominating performance. “Not many people are going to beat him.”

Freshman John Marenkovic followed a great performance last week with another at the Invitational, finishing 14th overall with a time of 26:19.

Slippery Rock’s third-best runner on Saturday was sophomore Andrew Maxwell, who clocked in at 27:23, good for 42nd in the field. Maxwell was followed by junior Evan Zombek (27:40) and lone senior Stephen Shepherd (27:44) who finished 55th and 58th, respectively.

Papa outlined the importance of experience for a team like this.

“We typically rely on our upperclassmen once championship time roles around. They know their role, and those guys will step up.”

A pair of freshman, Jared Nelson and Daniel Janyska, placed 62nd and 74th to finish competition for the Green and White.

Papa had high praise for the freshman presence on his team.

“[The freshmen] have a pretty good pedigree. They were very solid high school runners and we knew they would make an impact on the team. We didn’t know how soon or to what degree the first year in.” Papa was even more optimistic about their future at the Rock, “They have shown that as the years go on, they will be even significantly better. It’s a good thing to see.”

Slippery Rock will return to action in two weeks at home on Oct. 8 in the Mack Cooper Invitational at Cooper’s Lake Campground.



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