Cross Country looks to make good on preseason accolades

Category:  Sports
Friday, September 6th, 2019 at 11:07 AM
Cross Country looks to make good on preseason accolades by Erica Burkholder

Edinboro’s cross country teams open up their season at home on Sept. 7 at the Doug Watts Open.

Both teams are returning after winning campaigns in 2018, which also served as Head Coach Clayton Foster’s first season. The men’s team won the PSAC title, hosted at Edinboro last November, and then placed third in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional.

This season, the men were voted first in the conference in the preseason coaches poll. They’re then ranked second in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll. They’re ranked 23rd in the DII National poll by the USTFCCCA.

The women placed second in the PSAC Championships held in November and took home the Atlantic Region title. Five of the runners earned all-region honors and Hope Pietrocarlo eventually earned All-American honors when she finished 27th at the national race.

“It was really exciting to have her become an All-American, but this year if she doesn’t do the work, she’s not going to do it [again],” Foster said. “What it did (her placing) was make other girls believe ‘I can do it too.’”

The women were picked first in the PSAC preseason poll, along with first in the region poll. They’re predicted to finish 23rd at nationals.

Foster doesn’t care about the polls and preseason attention though.

“Rankings are just a handful of people that are looking at returners and potential and things like that,” he said. “Our sport — they’re out there working hard for 30 minutes, and a lot can change in 30 minutes.”

The cross country teams will also get some help from new track and field coach Annessa Steele, who brings energy and positivity to the practices. “I think the kids are going to respond really well to her,” said Foster. Steele is a professor in the education department at ‘Boro and was a head coach at Butler High School from 2009-2013.

“I challenged the kids to have a good summer, so that they could have a good year this year,” said Foster. “Everyone came into the season in good shape this year. I’m excited to see what we can accomplish this season.”

He continued: “I think if we just bring our best, we’ll be in a good spot...It’s a long season ahead of us [and] I think we’ll do pretty well this year. We just have to stay healthy and be consistent. We keep consistent and we’ll have some good success.”

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