Cross country opens with victory over Seton Hill at Doug Watts Dual

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 at 5:11 PM
Cross country opens with victory over Seton Hill at Doug Watts Dual  by Mike Lantinen

The Edinboro Fighting Scots took to the Doug Watts Cross Country Course this past Friday night for their opening meet of the year. With a depleted roster on the men’s side and a complete rebuild for the women, the Scots proved that everything remains on track. 

Redshirt senior Austin Pondel, a transfer from Penn State, was the first to cross the line in a time of 18:56 for the 6K course. Pondel showed a lot of promise throughout his career, being a Footlocker national qualifier in 2013 and scoring an individual victory at the District 10 Cross Country Championships in 2012 during his high school career. He followed that with improvements throughout his tenure at Penn State, eventually breaking the 15-minute barrier for the 5K.

Closely following Pondel was Edinboro’s first finisher in last year’s national meet, Gene Baritot. An NCAA Division 2 track qualifier this past year, Baritot will hope to challenge the top talent of the conference alongside Pondel.

Main contributers for last year’s squad, Jared Hallow and Jon Gusew, were the next two to come through. Hallow finished in 19:24 and Gusew 30 seconds later in 19:56.

Redshirt sophomore Steven Scheetz and true freshman Brendan Oswalt were absent from the results. Scheetz has had a promising offseason and will look for a breakout year.

The three final runners were California native Eduardo Tapia, Chandler Brooks, and Michael McLaughlin.

The women’s youth movement is in full effect. The first three runners that completed the course were freshmen, followed by two more young Fighting Scots in the top 10.

After the loss of top runners in previous years, head coach Ryan Foster will have to rely on contributions from the recruiting class.

Leading the way for the Scots was Stefanie Parsons who completed the 5K course in 18:11. An Ontario, Canada native, Parsons will join Abbey Peters, Hope Pietrocarlo and Jasmine Fehr.

Pietrocarlo and Fehr finished in 18:25 and 18:31 for the next two places of the race. Peter’s classmate, Abbey Lang, was the fourth finisher beating out Seton Hill’s first finisher.

Rounding out the top 10 were Tori Klimowica and Brooke Messinger. The first finished in 18:59 while the latter ran a 19:24.

Klimowica joins a long line of East Aurora athletes who have been a part of the Edinboro distance running program. Walt McLaughlin, head coach of East Aurora cross country and track and field has provided a constant source of athletes to pull from, including Baritot and the men’s PSAC record holder in the 5K, Mike Platt. Most recently, East Aurora’s own Elliott Martynkiwicz challenged Platt’s record, so it’s no surprise Klimowica has joined the team.

It’s early. And there’s much to be worked through in the long season, but for now it seems as though the Edinboro distance program is off to the right start.

The next challenge will come when coach Foster goes back to his alma mater of Penn State for the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational.

Michael Lantinen can be reached at sports.spectator@ gmail.com.

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