For the first time since the fall of 2019, the Waynesburg University cross country teams returned to a normal fall season with two competitions last week.
“It was good to get back out there on the course again,” sophomore Andrew Kasper said. “That was really exciting.”
Last year, the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) pushed all sporting events back until the spring and shortened the season for sports including cross-country.
The Yellow Jacket runners returned to action in the Cougar Challenge at Chatham on Wednesday and then again on Friday at the Fisher Invitational at Westminster. Waynesburg sent more of its runners to compete in the Fisher Invitational.
“It was very nice,” senior Gloria Reed said in response to being able to compete again in the fall.
The women’s team was projected to win a sixth-straight PAC championship in the preseason poll, but finished fourth out of nine teams running in the meet on Friday.
Gloria Reed was a bright spot despite the team results. Reed achieved a new personal record and finished seventh out of 65 runners.
“It actually made me really happy,” Reed said about her finish and new personal record. “I was targeting a different number for my race, but I’m really happy with what I had in the end.”
Other solid performances from the women’s squad were by sophomores Joula Anderson and Gabi Reifsnyder, who finished 10th and 20th. Senior captain Monica Kolencik capped off the top four, finishing 28th.
Despite the outcomes, a large amount of time still remains in the season for the women’s team to get back to its winning ways.
“Once you see that progress [of your hard work], it’s like piecing together a beautiful puzzle,” Reed said.
The men’s team heavily relied on its youth to cap off the meet with a fifth-place finish out of eight teams.
Sophomore Andrew Kasper had the top finish for the men’s team and rounded out the top 10 of all runners in attendance.
“It was a good performance,” Kasper said regarding his 10th-place finish.
Junior Jac Cokley and freshman Luke Whisel were the 20th and 21st runners to cross the finish line in the men’s competition. Out of 83 runners, freshman Nolan Curran finished 32nd to round out the top four for Waynesburg.
Similar to the women’s team, members of the men’s team see room for improvement.
“We have a lot of work to do, but we have a good group of guys,” Kasper said. “We just have to do the best we can.”
Both teams are back in action Friday afternoon to run in the PAC Preview that is hosted by Chatham. The women’s team is scheduled to start at 5:45 p.m. and the men’s team runs at 6:30 p.m.