Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Under brisk conditions at Kutztown University on Oct. 26, the WCU Golden Rams were eager to start the race they’ve prepared for all season-the PA State Conference Championships (PSACs).
As soon as the gun went off, PA’s division II college runners charged down a steep hill, making their way towards a grass trail surrounded by corn fields. Both the men and women’s races had a lightning fast start. West Chester’s runners were aggressive, pushing their way into a good starting position. Some of the top runners in the nation immediately led the way in the start of the race, setting a challenging pace.
“I think I started out faster [than usual], but I hit my mile split” said senior Captain Megan Berberich. This was Berberich’s last race at PSACs, who had a strong season this year after battling injuries in previous years. “The downhill at the beginning is nice because it gave me momentum for the immediate uphill that followed,” Berberich said.
The course contained a series of rolling hills. Many runners took advantage of the downhill in the beginning of the race, since the last two miles contained some steep hills to run up. However, if the first mile was ran too fast, the last two miles would not fare well. The course at Kutztown had to be run with logic, because getting carried away in the beginning would lead to a lot of suffering up the hills towards the end.
West Chester’s runners did have a good start, but the women and men’s teams, as well as coach Andy Huber, were upset with the overall rankings. The men earned 11th out of 14 teams and the women were 10th out of 17 teams. Both the men and women had scored two places behind last year, which was upsetting for the Golden Rams. The women and men’s teams agreed that they could’ve done better in the race that they’ve prepared for since summer.
Although disappointed as a team, some individual runners for the Golden Rams had put forth a great effort. Freshman Nick Angelina had really stepped it up at PSAC’s, placing 74th overall and running the 8th fastest time on the Kutztown course for any male runner in the past 10 years. Zack Musselman, although generally disappointed in his race, was the highest placer for WCU since 2007, finishing the men’s 8k in 27:03, earning 43rd overall.
For the women, Leigh Manning-Smith attained a personal record for the Kutztown course, coming in 29th overall. Manning-Smith posted the third best time for any WCU runner in the past 10 years. The women’s team was expected to place 8th in the team standings. Many of the runners did not perform their best, but their anger will hopefully fuel their desire to rank better at regionals on Nov. 9.
The five scorers for the men’s team included Zack Musselman (43rd), Nick Angelina (74th), Jake Siegel (76th), Chris Bucci (80th), and James Vadas (84th). The top five women included Amanda Eisman (12th), Leigh Manning-Smith (29th), Mallory Drake (59th), Brittany Boyer (76th), and Mara Kelly (97th).
The WCU runners are preparing for Regionals which will take place at Lock Haven University Nov. 9. For the next two weeks, the WCU Golden Rams are expected to be in full focus. The WCU runners are on a letdown at the moment, but are expected to use the disappointment to produce some dramatically better results at Regionals. Once again, the WCU Golden Rams will be running against top runners in the nation. Excitement stirring and anger over the last race brewing, it is up to the Golden Rams to determine just where they’ll stand in the last race of the season.
Amanda Eisman can be reached at AE789499@wcupa.edu.

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