Freshmen show fast feet at Greensburg

Bobby Scott, Sports Editor

The Pitt-Johnstown women’s cross country team finished second at the Pitt-Greensburg Invitational Oct. 5, finishing only behind Point Park University with 40 points.

Five Lady Cat runners finished in the top 20 with freshman Rebecca Schorr placing fifth (22:45), sophomore Marissa Albert placing sixth (22:59) and freshman Amber Spear finishing seventh (23:10).

Freshman Kaitlyn McGarry finished eleventh (23:13) and junior Sasha Peterman rounded out the top 20 at sixteenth (24:26).

This was the team’s best finish so far this season and the last time the team had finished second place was Sept. 3, 2011, at the Seton Hill University Invitational.

Junior Elena Mingora said that the team’s improving race times at every meet were a sign for greater results to follow.

“All of our times have been improving every week,” Mingora said.

Inexperience comes with a young team and lack of confidence comes with inexperience but first year head coach Shane Valko said he feels that his team’s self-esteem is growing every week.

“Confidence (has been the difference),” he said.  “They stayed with the (race) leaders and realized that they are as good as (the competition).”

Valko said that sticking together is what impresses him the most about the team.

“They push each other in practice and it shows (the way they finish) in meets,” he said.

“To be a good team, the first thing is being together, then comes athletic ability and lastly is confidence, and these girls are gaining that every week.”

Albert said that it has been the coaching that has changed the mentality and the confidence of the team.

“The coaches have been working our butts off and totally changed our mentality from, ‘I hope I can do this’ to ‘We are going to do this’,” she said.

“Instead of being afraid of big schools with good runners we look at it as an opportunity for us to just keep improving and just giving everything we have been giving at practice.”

The team’s next race is Oct. 12 at the Mercyhurst University/Gannon University Race in the Park Invitational in Erie, Pa before gearing up for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships Oct. 20 in Slippery Rock.