Despite improves season, both the men and women’s cross-country teams came up short at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conferece championship Saturday at Slippery Rock University.
Both teams finished in last place, while freshmen Kyle Zenchak and Natalie Sheen finished first for the men and women’s teams.
The Lady Cats finished fifth of eight teams Oct. 10 at the Mercyhurst University Invitational, lead by junior Rebecca Schorr and Sheen placing in the top 15 of 90 runners.
Schorr finished with a 20:26 time while Sheen was six seconds behind finishing at 20:32.
Coming back strong from an injury last season, Schorr has been leading the team this year.
“This season, I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things and adjust to my new running form, but hopefully Saturday we finish better in comparison to last year,” said Schorr.
Four of the men’s top five finishers, all sophomores, from last season’s conference championship are returning to the race, James Howart, Collin Sherlock, Kyle Zenchak and John Cotton.
The men’s cross-country team has been led by Zenchak who finished 21st out of 240 runners with a time of 26:46 Oct. 17 at the Gettysburg Invitational.
The team placed tenth out of 24 teams at Gettysburg.
“The men’s team is in its second year so there is a lack of experienced collegiate runners on our team,” said Zenchak.
“We just go out and compete to our very best abilities.
If we do that, we will continue to improve and bring in better recruits.”
The men’s cross-country team was selected to finish 15th of 18 teams by the conference coaches in this year’s conference peseason poll.
Both men’s and women’s cross-country teams are coached by Shane Valko and student assistant coach Allie Pagano.
Pagano was a member of Pitt-Johnstown women’s cross-country team from 2011 to 2014.
The men’s team finished 15th out of 15 teams at the championship.
Lock Haven University won the men’s championship while the women’s team race was by Edinboro University.
Sophomore James Horwat placed 77th with a 28:07 time.
Other Pitt-Johnstown runners who finished high were freshmen Tom McArdale, placing 80 with a 28:16 time, Killian McNally, finishing 86 with a 28:29 time and Luca Pugliano, finishing 99 with a time of 30:1.
The women’s team finished 17th out of 17 teams.
Shorr was close behind Sheen placing 86th with a time 25:20.
Shorr was followed by junior Marissa Albert, freshman Ashley Thompson and sophomore Emily Miller.
Albert finished 106th out 168 runners with a 26:55 time.
Thompson finished 108 th with a 27:02 time.
Miller finished 114th with a time of 27:54.