Cross Country takes talents to PAC Championship

LATROBE, Pa. (Nov. 12) – This past Saturday, Waynesburg University’s Men & Women’s Cross Country teams traveled to Latrobe, Pa. for the much-anticipated Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championships. 

In what was no doubt a loaded field for both teams, and Waynesburg head coach Chris Hardie admitting so, this was the first time in seven years that the Waynesburg women’s team did not walk away with a PAC Championship This occurred despite multiple runners placing in the upper half of the field.

“We do have the same level of runners we have had in years past,” Hardie said. “So I really think the conference is really, really good this year.  I think that the region will notice this upgrade at our regional meet in a couple of weeks.” 

Staying focused on the women, Hardie was pleased to see that his freshmen are continuing to step up, as three out of the top five finishes for the team came from the freshmen trio of Regan Pettis, (1st) Grace Tanksley, (2nd) and Lilly Ryer (4th) with them placing 23rd, 25th, & 48th respectively out of the pool of 107 runners. 

This type of success and continued progress leaves Hardie more than just a little optimistic going into the future. 

“We learn a lot about our runners in that first season in college,” Hardie said. “It was great to see so many of them step up and progress this year.  But the ‘magic’ really happens in year two, when they start to train a little differently and a little more aggressively.”

I am excited to see how they progress in the next three years. I think they set the foundation for a championship run down the road.  We just need to be patient and make decisions along the way.”

 When it comes to the men, they placed seventh out of a ten-team field, with the two recognizable names of Andrew Kasper and Nolan Curran placing the two highest times for the team, going on to place 32nd and 50th respectively out of the 122 competitor field. 

The third-highest place on the team, however, came from freshman Christian Michaels, marking his first top-three team finish of the season, and leaving Hardie impressed with his two-sport freshman. 

“He has progressed very well each and every week,” Hardie said.  “His situation is also very unique, as he is in two sports right now so we balance his workload with [wrestling head coach Aaron McKinney] in order to ensure he is not burning out or overworking.  He really did perform well at conference and I look forward to working with him in the next few years.” 

Michaels is currently having to balance his remaining cross country season with the wrestling season that is now in full go, as Michaels recently just competed in Orange & Black Wrestle-offs. 

The Jackets are back in action on Saturday, Nov. 12, when they travel to the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships. The race is being contested in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. Start time is scheduled for 11 a.m.