Women win Atlantic Championship, men second

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 at 4:52 PM

After making waves at the PSAC championship race two weeks ago, the Edinboro cross country team came through once again. The women followed up their PSAC title with an Atlantic Regional Championship in Lock Haven, earning a bid to the national meet. The men earned a bid as well, placing second.

After finishing 10th in 2016, the women have had a noticeably different squad with six of their seven runners coming into the program this year. Stefanie Parsons was Edinboro’s top finisher as she has been for the entire season. A final time of 21:19.3 would be good enough for fourth place.

Jasmine Fehr, who came through as the fifth scoring member of the team at PSACs, came back with a vengeance, finishing three behind Parsons for seventh place. 

Making a much similar jump to the front of the pack on the men’s side was Jonathan Gusew, whose culmination was timely considering his career is winding down. Gusew (14th place), who is now a three-time all-region performer, finished behind frontrunner Austin Pondel (second place) for the first time this year.

 As the season progresses, training regimens are constantly changing to properly adapt to the portion of the season they are working through.

“I liken training to building a house. Early on we lay the foundation, make sure we’re structurally sound, the base that we need. Then you can springboard into putting together all the other bits and pieces you need,” head coach Ryan Foster said.

He continued: “We’re in the part of the season now where we’re just adding those final finishing touches, polishing the doorknobs, painting the trim. The work is done, for me it’s about, don’t screw it up. Don’t do anything too major and just making sure everybody, more mentally than anything, is in a good position and feeling ready to go.”

With a men’s team that is mostly comprised of upperclassmen and a women’s team of mostly freshmen, Foster takes that into consideration as well.

“The variations of the two come in volume. If you look at the time running, our men during the season are running anywhere between 24 and 26 minutes and the woman are between 22 and 24 minutes, so from an actual time on their feet, they’re pretty similar,” he said. 

Foster continued, “They (the women) will probably run 35-40 miles a week, and the men are in that 80-90 miles a week range. So that’s the difference — the volume — but the workouts are just about the same.”

As recently as last year during the SaveHaven movement, teams have taken on more agency in ensuring financial stability. Edinboro cross country’s “Battle of the Decades” is another form of this movement.

“It’s been a phenomenal response from our alumni. We’ve been really excited about the people supporting the program and one part of it is the financial part. The donations coming in allow us to do more; it allows us to use more scholarship,” Foster said.

He continued: “I think it’s also important for the team to have that relationship with the alumni base, to feel an investment from our alums because it provides a context for us to do our work in. It’s the history of our program, it’s our heritage, it’s our tradition, it’s the DNA of who we are. It all started 50 years ago, and we want to perpetuate that year after year, and the more involved they are the longer we get to stay Edinboro cross country.”

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

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