Slippery Rock University hosted the NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships at Cooper’s Lake Campground Saturday. Over 250 athletes came to compete in the men’s 10,000 meter and women’s 6,000-meter races in hopes to qualify for the National Championships in Florida in two weeks.
Slippery Rock women, who came into the meet ranked 10th, took 9th place among 22 placing teams. SRU head coach John Papa hoped to move up a couple more spots, but remained happy with the results.
“I thought the girls ran great,” Papa said. “We held our own out there.”
Sophomore Courtney Group led the Rock with a 28th place finish, just shy of top-25 to earn an All-Region title. She crossed the finish line at 24:07.
“It was tough out there today but we all finished and that’s all we can ask for. We all ran together as a team to finish and I’m happy,” Group said.
Following Group was junior Melissa Rains in 38th place with a time of 24:30. Next was freshman Makaila Banka who finished in 24:43 and juniors Caitlyn Janeda and Matti Dunham finished off the top 5 for Slippery Rock with times of 25:23 and 25:48.
Seniors Kaylee Haberkam and Alexis Swiergol followed with times of 25:50 and 26:20.
The Rocks effort earned them ninth place with 259 points. The top three women’s teams to qualify for Nationals were Shippensburg with 57 points, Bloomsburg with 66 points and Seton Hill, who finished with 146 points.
Although the girls did not qualify to move on to Nationals and this marked the end of their season, Coach Papa remained positive.
“I think we had a lot of learning this season. We had some athletes get a lot of experience and some freshmen who redshirted and learned a lot. We all learned more about ourselves and will use this to improve in the future,” Papa said.
The girls will continue running into indoor track season which begins meets on Dec. 2nd.