The Slippery Rock women’s cross-country team got its first team win of the season with a first place finish on Friday night, a home race at Cooper’s Lake Campground against Robert Morris.
The top overall finisher was Leah Anne Wirfel from SRU. The senior transfer from High Point University finished the 6K race with a time of 22:16, finishing more than 90 seconds ahead of anyone else. She has finished first for the team in the last two races.
Head coach John Papa is excited that Wirfel is now healthy after going through some injuries in the early stages of her running career.
“I feel that Leah Anne has the potential to be one of the top runners in the PSAC,” Papa said. “She should be in the front group in all of our races this season.”
Behind Wirfel was a dominant performance by SRU. Senior Jenny Picot was the second overall finisher with a time of 23:55, as junior Alexis Swiergol crossed the line at 24:42 to take third place. In fourth place was sophomore Melissa Rains at 24:56 and sophomore Caitlyn Janeda finished in fifth place with a time of 25:01 to complete the sweep.
“Home ground is an advantage. It is good to know the course you will be running so you know what to expect,” Papa said. “We will be going to practice at Cooper’s Lake next week to gain more experience on the course.”
Following the top five finishers were four more runners from SRU. Sophomore Matti Dunham finished in sixth place at 25:15, followed by senior Jessica Bennett in seventh place at 25:32. Crossing the finish line at 25:36 was eighth place finisher junior Kaylee Haberkam, and junior Christine Potsubay finished ninth in 25:40.
Sophomore Rachel Crane was the first finisher for Robert Morris finishing 10th overall at 25:46
With the top five overall finishers being from Slippery Rock, SRU scored the lowest (best) possible score of 15 points. Robert Morris finished with a total of 50 points.
Coach Papa said the team is currently ranked fourth place in the PSAC.
“The top three teams are extremely competitive so we will need to continue to improve if we want to break into the top three,” Papa said.
Slippery Rock is back in action this upcoming Saturday as they prepare for the Lock Haven Invitational in Lock Haven. This will be a big test as the team will be running the same course on which this year’s Atlantic Regional Championships will take place.