The Slippery Rock University men’s and women’s cross country teams ran in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Championships at Lock Haven University Saturday as the women placed seventh and the men placed 11th.
Senior Kacey Raible was the top finisher among the women as she earned her second All-Region honor with a ninth-place finish. Raible finished the 6,000-meter course in 22:06 and just missed an individual qualifying position for the National Championships. However, there is still a chance for Raible to make it to the National Championships as an individual qualifier.
“She worked extremely hard gaining strength and fitness since shes been here,” said John Papa, head coach. “Now this being her senior year, she has just continued to improve every year and plus she is a great competitor.”
Coach Papa said that she hit the mark she wanted at the beginning of the season. Top ten was where she and the coaches thought she could be. For the National Championships, Eight individual athletes will be selected by the NCAA. Raible will be the first selected from the Atlantic Region if the NCAA decided to choose any runner from the region. Coach Papa said we will find out soon enough.
“She has a shot,” Papa said. “Either way, whether she makes it or not, she has had a great season and shown everyone else what a lot of hard work can do.”
For the men, senior Daniel Jansyka leads the way as he finished the 10,000-meter course 28th overall in 32:42, just missing the All-Region honor the top 25 receive. Following Jansyka was redshirt junior John Marenkovic who placed 32nd 32:49. Papa wasn’t sure if Marenkovic fully recovered from his performance two weeks ago, finishing third at the conference championships. However, Papa was pleased with Jansyka’s performance
“[Jansyka] had his lifetime best performance as a cross country runner placing 28th,” Papa said.
Following Raible’s finish was senior Jill Norris, who finished in 22:43 to place 29th overall. Sophomore Lexie Firment finished 40th overall in 22:55 to be the third finisher for The Rock. Seniors Katie Proffitt and Emily Johnson finished the scoring for Slippery Rock as Proffitt placed 55th in 23:19 and Johnson finished 83rd in 23:47.
Following Marenkovic was freshman Ethan Brentham who finished 67th in 33:40. Sophomore Noah Yake and senior Trenton Yoder closed out the scoring for the men as Yake placed 78th in 33:56 and Yoder 84th in 34:13.
“At the conference meet two weeks ago, that was our best weekend that we had this year,” Papa started. “And that was at the right time.
“The conference meet is very important to us and they performed very well at that.”
This closes out the season for both the men and women teams with the possibility of Raible being invited to run in the NCAA National Championships meet in Sacramento, California on Nov. 23.
“We had a good year. We definitely had a very good year,” Papa said.