Slippery Rock cross country hosted the Mack Cooper Invitational Saturday, Oct. 8. The Rock welcomed runners of elementary to collegiate levels. The women ended up taking third in the 6k race amongst nine teams.
Most notable was sophomore Courtney Group who finished in second place with a time of 23:02. Behind her was junior Melissa Rain. This was Rains’ first race back after being out for an injury. She finished in 15th in a race of 80 people in 24:11. Then came freshman Makaila Banka (24:46), junior Caitlyn Janeda (25:04), junior Matti Dunham (25:22), senior Alexis Swiergol (25:35) and sophomore Sabrina Palmieri (25:51).
“The underclassmen are still stepping up, and we have Rains back doing well,”SRU head coach John Papa said. “I know we have competition, but the ladies are improving and working together.”
The Rock runners totaled 94 points. Malone took first place with 37 points and Shippensburg was just behind them with 40 points.
Coach Papa said this was the first time they have seen Malone. “The girls placed well. I think this was in part due to many of the teams just racing to see the course.”
The girls stepped up and beat both Lock Haven and Kutztown who are ranked fourth and seventh in the region, while Slippery Rock is ranked ninth.
The girls will race again Oct. 22 in Kutztown at the PSAC Championships. Papa hopes to see the girls place around 5th amongst the 18 PSAC teams.
“We have a good group of girls and I think their hard work will pay off,” Papa said.