Men’s and women’s cross country aim for success

Published by Aaron Marrie, Date: September 6, 2019
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Sophomore Ben Buckless throws up a peace sign during the Alumni Race on Aug. 24. The Alumni Race took place at the SRU Cross Country course.

The Slippery Rock University men’s and women’s cross country teams are getting their running shoes on and preparing for the upcoming season as they have their first meet this Saturday in Edinboro for the Doug Watts Invitational.

The men’s and women’s teams are coming back from a successful season, as the men’s placed sixth in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championship and 12th in the regional championships. The women finished seventh in the PSAC championship and sixth in the Regional championship.

This season, SRU coach John Papa thinks that both teams are destined for a great season.

“Right now, I’m giving us a C,” Papa said. “But I think by the end of the championship season we are going to have an A-plus; we are going to do very well.”

Coming into this season, the PSAC ranked the men’s team sixth overall and the women seventh overall, matching their performances from last season’s PSAC championship.

“Right now, we’re not ready for any kind of great performances, but we certainly have the talent and the ability, and the ladies are excited and think they can do significantly better than the seventh place that’s been designated for us,” Papa said. “So, the ladies are going to get an A-plus too.”

Looking into the rosters, the men are mixed with freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Daniel Janyska and Trenton Yoder are the team’s veterans. For the women, they are loaded with freshman and sophomores. SRU welcomed six new cross country athletes this year and have eight returning sophomores from last year.

The team does have a strong upperclassmen core, as seniors Kacey Raible, Jill Norris, Emily Johnshon, Michelle Pompa, Katie Proffitt, Bri Witherel and Lindsee Zimmer are returning this season. Juniors Juliet Ryan and Carlie Seibert also join the upperclassmen core.

The season will start this Saturday, Sept. 7 in Edinboro as they look to start making Papa’s expectations become a reality.

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