Over the course of this season, the cross country team has had a success year. For two consecutive weeks Marianne Abdalah was named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week. These honors came after her multiple appearances at invites where she kept her times under 20 minutes.
“Initially I was surprised, it was such an exciting honor to be given,” Abdalah said.
Abdalah says it has been exciting to improve her times and she’s having fun doing it. She came to Slippery Rock as a recent graduate transfer from West Virginia University where she also was a member of the cross-country team. Slippery Rock is closer to home for Abdalah, a Pittsburgh native who plans to continue her Physician Assistant studies at The Rock.
Coach John Papa has known her since she was 11-years-old when she was running indoor events. Her training when she was younger followed her into adulthood. “Getting up early, running, visiting the athletic trainer and eating healthy all keep me in line,” Abdalah said. She added that outside of cross country she enjoys cooking, napping and doing her schoolwork.
“Being younger I was more focused on placing individually, but now I see how the team aspect and making progress as a whole team is more effective,” said Abdalah. The motivation of others on the team helps her to improve in hopes of winning the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). According to Abdalah, running requires her to keep her structure and be disciplined.
The love for running came into the student-athlete’s life as a child, as her parents enjoyed the sport. Abdalah is the daughter of Marvin and Kim Abdalah, who were both former college runners from Wheeling Jesuit. Abdalah started running at just seven-years-old and decided it was something she wanted to do competitively. Whether it was a marathon or a family jog, running became the center of attention.
In college she has had quite the impressive career and she isn’t finished yet. She said that running on a flat surface course she hopes to break 22 minutes. Going forward the goal is to motivate her team and keep them eager to win.
An honor roll and Dean’s List student, Abdalah is finding great success in The Rock uniform for distance running. She has yet to be beat by any other collegiate runner since her transfer to PSAC.
At the Lock Haven Invitational Abdalah placed as the number 17 finisher, with a time of 22:17. Not quite breaking the 22 minute goal, Abdalah looks to complete this goal at The Rock’s only home meet Oct. 9.