The West Chester men’s cross country team opened their season on Friday, Sept. 2, at the Lehigh Invitational in Bethlehem, PA. The field was made up of mostly Division I schools. This, however, did not stop the Golden Rams from pulling their weight.
West Chester finished eighth overall and was led by freshman Zack Musselman, who finished 38th overall with a time of 19:49:00.
Head coach Andrew Huber seemed very enthusiastic about the freshman’s performance. “He is going above and beyond my expectations; he is a very hard worker,” Huber said.
The team seems to be in need for some young leadership this season. They are the definition of a young squad, being made of up four juniors, three sophomores, and four freshmen. That’s right: no seniors.
“We know we’re a young team, but that doesn’t stop us. We’d like to improve by two spots in the standings from last year,” Huber said.
As far as the rest of the team’s results on Friday: Sean Sebeck finished 49th in 20:06.7 while Curran Kneebone was 53rd in 20:08.4. Chris Bucci covered the course in 20:26.5 to place 61st overall, and Jake Perry was 66th in 20:37.4. Jack Barnett put up a time of 20:46.1 to place 71st, and Adam Farence was 92nd in 22:10.8.
The women’s team was also in action Friday in Bethlehem. The Rams finished fourth out of nine schools and also had the overall individual winner. West Chester’s Kristina Koutsouros led everyone on Friday finishing in first place with a time of 21:44:00. This was the fastest time in the history of WCU women runners at the Goodman course at Lehigh University.
“She’s had some rough spots with injuries in the past,” Huber said about his junior runner. “She is well ahead of where she left off last season.”
Koutsouros hard work is surely not going unnoticed. She received two awards over the Labor Day weekend. She was named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference women’s cross country athlete of the week along with being named the female athlete of the week by the West Chester Athletic Department.
Koutsouros was followed by senior transfer student Cathleen Casey who finished third overall with a time of 22:35:00. This was her first race as a Golden Ram after transferring from St. Joe’s in Philadelphia.
The rest of the West Chester field was made up of Cayla Rimkis, who was the third Golden Rams runner to cross the line. She placed 43rd overall with a time of 24:43.8 in her first collegiate race. Nicole Del Grosso was 45th in 24:52.7, and Julie Clappsy was 46th in 24:55.0. Brittany Boyer placed 57th with a time of 25:29.1 and Hilary Rights was 61st in 25:43.1. Breezy Sweeney was 66th in 25:52.2, Trish Evans was 68th in 26:01.3 and Lindsay Reindl was 75th in 26:59.
Both men’s and women’s cross country will be in action again Sept. 17 when they compete in the Kutztown Invitational. The full schedule can be found on the West Chester athletic website (wcupagoldenrams.com).
Alex Einhorn can be reached at AE744379@wcupa.edu.