Kings of the conference

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, November 7th, 2018 at 6:24 PM
Kings of the conference by Chris Rosato Jr.
Photo: Kelly Staschak

Cross country celebrated its 50th season at Edinboro with a win and second-place finish in the men’s and women’s conference championship races, hosted by Edinboro University.

Rain from the week before and during the event made conditions less than favorable, with certain areas of the course covered in mud or foot-deep puddles. Edinboro’s men placed three in the top 10 en route to their first conference win since 2012. This was their 30th PSAC title, the most in conference history. 

Redshirt senior Jared Hallow was Edinboro’s fastest finisher, completing the course in 27 minutes, 8 seconds for fifth place. Ward Ries, who spent most of the season as a redshirt, finished just behind him, within a second. Sophomore Colton Cassel finished 

5 seconds behind them, giving Edinboro back-to-back-to-back placings.

“It was horrible,” Hallow said of the muddy course. “But it’s a classic cross country race. So, like, I’m going as hard as I can, and it’s all muddy and you’re scrapping through as fast as you can, you know. [It was] the worst conditions but the best conditions for a cross country race.”

Corey Wefing finished in 11th at 27:22 and Brendan Oswalt finished in 27:50 for 19th place to round out Edinboro’s top-20 finishers. 

Eduardo Tapia and Nick Amos finished 31st and 65th, respectively, out of the 125 runners. Jack Lacina finished 88th. Amos actually qualified for 63rd because two extra Shippensburg runners finished earlier and did not count toward the team scores, and Lacina’s finish did not score as he was the eighth Edinboro runner to finish.

Hallow led for most of the race, but was unable to maintain the lead and settled for the fifth spot to earn his third All-PSAC honor. Cassel added his second All-PSAC award after he was All-PSAC last year and the 2017 PSAC Freshman of the Year.

Hallow felt finishing close together would give them the best chance to win, even if they couldn’t finish in the top three.

“I always want to do better, but I think I did pretty good for the conditions,” he said. “But I mean everyone had to deal with it, so whatever.”

Perennial contender Shippensburg finished second with 62 points to Edinboro’s 48, only managing two runners in the top 10. West Chester’s Josh Coakley won the individual title in 26:47, but 18 other racers would finish before they could place another runner. The Golden Rams finished seventh in the team rankings.

Edinboro’s women managed two runners in the top 10, but finished second to Shippensburg, falling by just 4 points.

Sophomore Hope Pietrocarlo and senior Abbey Lang finished in seventh and eighth, respectively, to lead the Fighting Scots. Pietrocarlo finished with a time of 24:18 and Lang finished 2 seconds behind her. 

“I think we did really well, actually. We had a lot of people step up that needed to,” Pietrocarlo said. “Everybody just stepped it up.”

Sophomore Stefanie Parsons, who was named the PSAC Women’s Cross Country Freshman of the Year in 2017, finished 16th in 24:45, followed by Tori Klimowicz a second behind. Parsons led at the beginning of the race, but couldn’t keep up the pace, eventually falling back to her teammates and slipping a few spots further. She had won on the same course during the Doug Watts Open earlier in the season.

Audrey MacPherson finished in 27th to round out the scoring for Edinboro. All five of Edinboro’s top finishers earned All-PSAC honors in the effort.

Course conditions for the women were even worse after more rain fell and the men beat the course down during their race.

“The conditions were worse than I expected, and I was expecting the worst,” Pietrocarlo said. “There was like 8 inches of mud that you just could not get through; like we had half-inch little spikes in our shoes and you couldn’t even tell the difference. I could’ve worn my regular running shoes to run that race [and] I would’ve done probably the same. It was terrible.”

California University brought the top-two finishers, but finished in third after not having another runner finish sooner than 28th. Shippensburg had finishes of sixth, ninth, 12th, 21st and 23rd en route to the conference win.

Edinboro’s women were attempting to win the conference meet for the second year in a row and sweep both races of the meet. They won last year with the help of freshman Jasmine Fehr, but Fehr transferred to the University of Portland in Oregon after former Head Cross Country Coach Ryan Foster left for a position at the University of Tennessee.

The Fighting Scots will head south to Pittsburgh for the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional meet on Nov. 17 at the Bob O’Connor Golf Course.

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

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