The Pitt State women’s cross-country team captured its second straight MIAA Championship while the men’s team placed 6th overall on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the MIAA Championships meet in Jones Park.
The women’s team accumulated a low score of 26 points.
“Well, [the women placing first] was very exciting, it’s always great to win. Hard to defend the title and now a target is kind of on your back. We did have little injuries like all teams do throughout the season, so it was extra rewarding to overcome those,” Head Coach Russ Jewett said. “It was a total team effort…”
Senior Jordan Puvogel won the race with a time of 21:51.3. Sophomore Cassidy Westhoff finished second with a time of 21:57.8 and senior Katren Rienbolt (22:03.7) finished third. The fourth runner from Pitt State to cross the finish line was junior Piper Misse who placed sixth overall in the race at 22:09.6 followed by senior Ashton Henson who came in at 22:53.4.
The top four runners on the women’s side made All-MIAA honors by placing in the top 10 individuals. Henson received the honorable mention All-MIAA recognition.
“Yeah, [Jordan Puvogel and Ashton Henson made] great contribution to the team in a little bit different ways. Jordan was the individual victory and she’s the team captain. I think it might the first collegiate cross country race she’s won and to have it be her final conference championship, that’s extra special. She’s very deserving of it,” Jewett said. “… [Ashton Henson] battled back from about six months of sporadic training due to injuries and really has done a fine job for our team… She could have forgone this season and waited until next year… so we are really pleased and proud that she did what it took to get healthy. Even though she’s not in top form right now, she did everything she could to come and race and help the team. Without her, the title would have been very much in question.”
The men’s team paced 6th in the meet with a score of 174 points.
Senior Dominick Fonseca came in at 26:06.1 and was the first runner from Pitt State to cross the finish line followed by sophomore Diego Contreras with a time of 26:17.6. Next up was freshman Ben Kahnk at 27:30.5 followed by senior Hunter Blount at 27:51.6 and freshman Charlie Wallace at 27:54.1.
“It was a little disappointing [that the men placed sixth]. We did have a couple of mishaps, there was some very rough footing there. We had a couple of guys who were injured during the race. It’s unfortunate, but that happens,” Jewett said. “But I thought considering that happened and we still got sixth, it could have been worse… In the context of the day as it was, our guys fought hard and I was proud of them for that…”
Fonseca earned All-MIAA honors and Contreras received honorable mention All-MIAA.
“I was really proud of Dominick Fonseca, this was his first time I think as a first team all-conference cross country and his best race, certainly of the year not his career, so I’m really proud of him,” Jewett said. “[Diego Contreras] had a very fine race as well… I am really proud of Diego too, he has been a very quiet but intense competitor. He’s one of those guys that does all of the little things right and he hasn’t been running as long as most sophomores in college, so he’s still got a little bit of an improvement curve that others may not have, but he’s doing a fine job.”
Both teams will return to action during the regional meet on Saturday, Nov. 17 to compete in the race for a spot in the championship meet.