Pitt State Cross Country team opens up
Zach Wagner | Collegio Reporter
The Pitt State cross country teams started their seasons last weekend at the Alumni Invitational held at Countryside Golf Course.
Head coach Russ Jewett says he is pleased with the performance of the younger men, after losing four of the top runners from last season.
“I was fairly pleased with my freshmen, even a couple of redshirt runners,” Jewett said. “Out of all them, I’d have to say Connor Stark did better than what his training would have indicated.”
Stark finished the 6K race in 19 minutes and 46 seconds, just four seconds behind Senior Ethan Silovsky who placed fourth in 19:42. The Senior says he has high hopes for the rest of the regular season after seeing the results of the first meet.
“I’ve now been through my third, one-hundred miles a week training, and I feel like the personal records are going to start coming,” Silovsky said.
Jewett says he thinks Silovsky is at the peak of his performance.
“He’s in the best cardiovascular shape he’s even been in,” Jewett said. “He stuck to his training extremely well over the summer.”
On the women’s team, senior Kaley Temaat won the opening 4K in 15:11. Jewett says she exceeded her initial expectations during the race.
“She seems to not top out like that during practice, but she really did compete better overall,” Jewett said.
Overall, Jewett says the reigning MIAA champions remain ambitious in their pursuit for a successful season.
“They’re staying hungry, despite a few underlying injuries,” Jewett said. “It all depends on keeping their mentality for the following weeks.”
Both teams are scheduled to compete Saturday, Sept. 15 at the Missouri Southern Stampede in Joplin, Mo.
“It’s an important meet because it is the venue we’ll be using for Regionals,” Jewett said. “With a course like that, it’s critical to be familiar with it early.”
The advantage of running close to home could spell trouble for many of the other teams competing in the regional after the Gorillas’ performance last year in the South Central Regional.
The women manage to do well enough to send all its runners to Nationals. Melissa Peden finished sixth last year in the Regional while Temaat placed 22nd. Both of them look to be poised for another strong season. Three other Gorilla women finished in the top 50 as Bridgette McCormick, Erika Testa and Katelyn Henderson ran hard to get the team to nationals.
On the men’s side, it was all Adam Volkert, as he blasted through regionals, finishing fourth on his way to an All-American season. Volkert, now a senior, will certainly be looking to repeat his performance last season, although he didn’t compete in the Alumni meet. The meet at MSSU could be a prequel to what will be seen at the regional.