Running in the rain on a snow-covered course, the Slippery Rock University women’s cross country team took seventh place at the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Championship last Saturday.
The Rock had All-Region performances from its top two runners on Saturday, but that was not enough for the team to advance the NCAA National Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.
The top three teams that advanced to Nationals were Edinboro University scoring 51 points, Bloomsburg University who scored 60 points, and Shippensburg University tallying 111 points. In fourth place was Lock Haven University with 185 points, fifth place was held by California University who scored 186 points and West Virginia Wesleyan University took sixth place with 221 points. SRU finished with 222 points, good for seventh place. Rounding out the top 10 were Indiana University with 240 points, Seton Hill University with 242 points and Kutztown University with 244 points.
SRU head coach John Papa liked the effort he got from his ladies on Saturday and throughout the entire season.
“We ran a very good race on Saturday, probably one of our best races of the year,” Papa said. “We thought we might finish a few spots higher, but you can’t criticize how the ladies ran.”
The top runner individually was Edinboro University’s Kasey Jones who ran a time of 22:03. The top three individuals from non-qualifying school also moved on to nationals. Those advancing are Amanda Eisman of West Chester University, who ran a time of 22:49 in fourth place, Julie Friend from California University in seventh place with a time of 22:51 and eighth place finisher Corinne Manela of Kutztown University with a time was 22:55.
After already taking spots on the All-Conference teams, Rock runners Jenny Picot and Janine Powis both secured spots on the All-Region second team. Picot ran a time of 23:15 and finished in 18 place, while Powis finished in 24 place with a time of 23:26.
Picot hopes that her accomplishments this season can inspire some of her younger teammates.
“I hope that I’ve been a good role model for everyone, and that Janine and I have shown everyone that success is possible,” Picot said. “I started out on this team being not very good, so I want people to look up to Janine and me and see what they can become.”
Papa had nothing but praise to give to his top two runners.
“They both had very solid and consistent seasons, and they were our top two all year long,” Papa said. “They had their best races at the end of the season, at conferences and regionals, and that allowed them to both be All-Conference and All-Region runners.”
Other Green and White scorers were sophomore Kaylee Haberkam and junior Brittany Fagan who finished back-to-back in 54 and 55 place, respectively. Haberkam ran a time of 24:41 and Fagan finished the race in 24:42. The final scorer for the Rock was junior Jessica Bennett who came in 71 place with a time of 25:01. Also competing for SRU was senior Angelica Bagwell who finished 74 with a time of 25:07 and freshman Rebekah Zee who ran a time of 25:11, good for 77. A total of 162 runners finished the race.
This was the last race of the season for the team, as now a lot of the athletes will turn their attention to the upcoming indoor track and field season.