Successful start for women’s cross country in first-place finish

The Waynesburg University women’s cross-country team started their season off with a team win at the Westminster’s Fisher Invitational.

The Yellow Jackets tied with conference rival Geneva College for the fewest points with a total of 61 points.

Sophomore Aubrey Wingeart was the top finisher for the entire meet which helped the Yellow Jackets break the tie and win the meet.

Head coach Chris Hardie was pleased with the team’s performance.

“I thought our ladies competed hard and they understand that the season is a long journey,” Hardie said. “Westminster was the first step in the process and they handled it really well.”

Wingeart crossed the finish line with a time of 23:47.17 beating the second place finisher by two seconds.

Junior Becca Volz was the next Yellow Jacket to finish placing 10th, with a time of 25:16.62.

Volz dealt with injuries most of last season so placing 10th was a step in the right direction  for the veteran runner.

“Seeing how much my injuries held me back last year, it was a huge motivator for me seeing how all my training and hard work has paid off.” She said. 

Hardie had high praise for both Volz and Wingeart after the first meet.

“We the coaching staff are very impressed with Wingeart’s progression in the past 12 months,” said Hardie. “I also feel Volz is running at the highest level of her career and she’s on track for some good things later this season.”

The meet had competitive teams and is a preview for what the Jackets will see at the Presidents’ Athletic Conference championships Nov. 2 

“We got to see all of our competition in the conference for this year,” Hardie said. “Franciscan and [Penn State] Behrend also were there, and both of those teams are very competitive. They have NCAA qualifiers on their roster too, so there was some talent up front. All in all, it was a very competitive meet.”

Junior Nicole Shelton also placed top-15 coming in 14th with a time of 25:31.99.

Following Shelton, sophomore Gloria Reed was the next to finish placing 18th with a time of 26:03.83. 

The next three scorers for the Jackets came from freshmen. Gwyn Napier, Maggie Stains and Paige Mattes finished the first race of their collegiate careers in the top 35. 

Napier placed 20th with a time of 26:03.83, while Stains placed 32nd with a time of 27:02.51.

Mattes took 33rd with a time of 27:02.53.

Hardie looks forward  to seeing how the young runners progress after their performance at Westminster but hopes to see the veteran runners return to the top seven.

“I am really excited and anxious to see how they progress this season,” he said. “I think a few of our upperclassman let an opportunity slip away. I am sure a few veterans are focused on working hard this week in order to get back into the top seven.”

The Yellow Jackets will continue their season at the Bethany Invitational Sept. 7.