Cross country races for two wins to open season

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 at 5:09 PM
Cross country races for two wins to open season by Chris Rosato Jr.
Photo: Ben McCullough

The future of Edinboro’s cross country program looked bright during the annual event honoring its historic past.

On Saturday, both men’s and women’s cross country teams took first place at the Doug Watts Open held at Edinboro University.

The event is named for Watts, who helmed Edinboro’s running program for 44 years. The Fighting Scots are led this year by Clayton Foster, who was participating in his first event as head cross country coach after being hired to replace departing Ryan Foster in July.

The newest Foster was greeted with two big wins, as the men placed first with 23 points, topping Shippensburg (44 points), and the women finished in first with 18 points, also trailed by Shippensburg (65 points).

Redshirt junior Jared Hallow led the Fighting Scots with a time of 26 minutes, 12 seconds. For his performance, Hallow was named the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division II National Men’s Athlete of the Week, the first Fighting Scot cross country runner to receive the distinction. Bryan Geehrer, the 2016 PSAC Freshman of the Year, finished just 2 seconds behind Hallow.

Corey Wefing finished fifth, 2017 PSAC Freshman of the Year Colton Cassel finished seventh, and redshirt freshman Jack Lacina rounded out the top-10 finishes with an eighth-place spot. 

Because the race includes runners not affiliated with PSAC schools, Eduardo Tapia was the 17th person to cross the finish line, but earned a 12th-place finish. Similarly, redshirt freshman Brendan Oswalt finished 26th but earned a 20th-place finish.

Clayton Foster said that while the first-place result was nice to see, the focus of the event was to run as a group, noting that the men had a 29-second difference between their first finisher and their fifth finisher.

“[This] past weekend was 100 percent about team running,” he said. “So running as a pack, being

there with your brothers and sisters, and operating as a unit. So that was the primary focus for the first half of the race this weekend, but I’m very pleased with how they showed.”

The women were paced by first- and second-place finishers Stefanie Parsons and Hope Pietrocarlo, who finished with times of 22:18 and 22:29, respectively. 

Abbey Lang and Brooklyn Messinger placed fourth and fifth as Edinboro was represented in four of the top five finishers, and five of the top 10 as Tori Klimowicz finished sixth. Jordan Hauser and Abby Warner rounded out Edinboro’s lineup.

Foster said the 55-second gap in times between their first and fifth finishers could be improved as the season moves forward.

“That’s exciting when you look at the [first place finish,] however we need to make that even better if we want to be successful later in the season,” he said of the women’s split times. “I always think that it’s okay to be excited with what happened, but we have to refine it and try to make it better.”

Perennial contender Shippensburg finished second, but the consensus between Foster and Director of Cross Country Operations Anne Cleary was that Shippensburg did not compete to the best of their ability.

“We’re not like basketball or football or any other team sport, that you have to win early and you have to have a certain record to go to the conference tournament, to go to the region tournament, stuff like that,” Cleary said. 

“They came to preview the conference course, so I’m sure when they left they were perfectly happy that they got their preview of the conference course,” she continued. “But at the same token, it’s still exciting how well our kids ran.”

Christopher Rosato Jr. can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com

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