Junior Jeremy Parsons landed on the All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) team for the third time overall, and the second straight year on first team after finishing in the top-10 at ninth place at the PSAC Championships held at Kutztown University Saturday morning.
The team as a whole placed eighth with 237 points, exactly in alignment with their ranking prior to the event. Shippensburg won the PSAC Championships with 47 total points, narrowly beating Lock Haven (54) and Edinboro (63). There was a steep drop to Bloomsburg at fourth place with 147 points, and the hometown team Kutztown rounded out the top five with 189 points.
“We had a good feeling going home” Said head coach John Papa, who was very pleased with his team’s performance. “For six of the seven guys, it was their first time at the conference championships. Just like every other sport in the PSAC, the competition is fierce. The meets we had during the course of the year, the competition was good, but everything comes down to this one. Our guys ran very well. I was pleased that everyone have a solid effort.”
Parsons was the Slippery Rock leader at the championships for the second straight year, as a 26:09 time placed him ninth overall. Parsons finished sixth at PSACs last year, but the championships were held on a much tougher course this year at Kutztown, where he didn’t run earlier in the year. “Jeremy was sick couple of weeks prior. I was really concerned if he were to be up in front and grind it out with the top guys, I didn’t think he would be able to do it because he had been ill.” Said Papa commenting on his star’s health. “That’s tough to give that kind of effort when you’re not 100%. He finished ninth and ran a touch conservative. Which was good for him, if he would have went for it he probably would have faded and placed lower.” Papa then commented on Parsons future looking forward “He is feeling a lot better and his runs are going well. There is no reason why he wont place quite a bit higher at the regional. I’m very confident in what hes going to be able to do. ”
Freshman John Marenkovic continued his fantastic first year by barely missing the cutoff for all-PSAC, finishing 35th (five spots out). Marenkovic finished the race in 27:48 and qualified for the Regional Championships in two weeks. Papa also had high praise for the Rock’s second-best runner “He had a solid run, but he knows he can do better. We’re looking for him to climb into the all-region ranks as well. He is looking forward to the challenge.”
The Green and White’s three through five runners were a trio of freshman, headlined by Jared Nelson, who placed 65th and clocked in at 27:48.5. Keegan Beard and Daniel Janyska rounded out the scorers with 85th and 88th-place finishes.
Josh Radar and David Wiles also competed, finishing 97th and 101st, respectively.
Slippery Rock will return to action at home on Saturday, Nov. 5 when they host the Atlantic Regional Championships. The regionals present a new challenge in a 10,000 meter course. Papa was open about the challenge that a longer course presents. “The regionals are 2,000 meters longer than we’ve raced all year. For the freshman, that’s extra tough because they went from running 5,000 meters last year in high school, to 8,000 which is enough of a jump. To throw another 2,000 on to it is going to be quite the challenge for most of our guys. Those guys are in for a dog fight.”
Experience is also a key factor this late in the season, and Papa was positive when asked about how he thinks his underclassmen will perform in their first national test.”We’ve talked already about the regionals. Just do what you have done all year. Don’t get caught up in the excitement, because people tend to go out too fast. The race is going to be an extra six or seven minutes longer; so you don’t want to get carried away and have it have a negative effect on you. Everyone is confident that they will give their best effort, but they all need to be a touch conservative in the beginning. ”