Saturday, November 8, West Chester University’s men and women’s cross-country teams raced at Lambs Creek recreation area, near Mansfield University for the 2014 Cross-County PSAC Championships.
Unlike most cross-country seasons, this one was two weeks longer than usual to accommodate the NCAA’s “Festival of Champions.” As a result, both teams found themselves facing colder than usual weather. Temperatures were in the 30-degree zone and frost was still on the ground at 10:00 a.m.
The men’s team raced first at 11:30 a.m., and the combination of melting frost and cold, windy weather made for a wet, cold, and muddy race. The first Golden Ram to cross the finish line first was fourth-year runner Zack Musselman, finishing in 43rd place with a time of 26:19 for the eight-kilometer course. His time was the fastest recorded in West Chester’s history at that course.
Third-year Jake Siegel followed closely behind Zack, posting a time of 26:27 and a place of 45. Second-year Andrew Dombrowiecki finished third for the team, crossing the finish line at 26:53 and a place of 54.
Third-year James Vadas and fifth-year Chris Bucci both crossed only two seconds apart from each other, with Vadas posting a place of 70th and a time of 27:12 and Bucci 71st and 27:14. The next finisher for the men’s cross-country team was Bryson Long, finishing up in 101st place with a time of 28:70.
The women’s cross-country team bolted off the starting line at 12:30, under similar conditions as the men’s race. Third-year Amanda Eisman crossed the finish line first for the team placing fifth, and finishing the six-kilometer course with a time of 21:45. Her time for this course was the best ever in West Chester University’s history. The NCAA also selected Eisman as an all-conference runner, for the third season in a row.
The second racer for the women’s team to cross the finish line was fourth-year Leigh Manning-Smith, finishing 27th with a time of 22:51. Manning-Smith also received recognition from the NCAA for her performance. Third for the golden rams was graduate student Laurel Jones, finishing 39th at 23:13.
Behind Jones, second-year Mallory Drake finished the muddy, freezing course in 24:11, placing 80th. Alindon Smith finished next at 111th with a time of 25:14, and Sam Russell crossed the line next in 29:20 placing 148.
The men’s team placed ninth overall, two places higher than last year, and the women’s team eleventh. The women’s team saw a 16 point score improvement than last year’s season.
The final race for both teams will be the regionals cross-county race held at Slippery Rock University, on Nov. 22.
Adam Farence is fourth year student dual-majoring in History and French. He can be reached at AF764146@wcupa.edu