On the morning of Saturday Sept. 13, the Millersville Cross Country team ran in a race that would set the pace for the rest of the season. The Marauders ran in the Harry Grove Spiked Shoe Invitational hosted by the division one intimidator, Penn State.
According to Head Coach Andy Young, “The mood was a little jittery for the younger guys and girls on the team-it’s a little intimidating when you are running against such big division one schools.”
The older and more experienced men and women on the marauder cross country team came out in full stride. Senior Priscilla Jennings “performed really strong in her first big outdoor race this fall,” Young said. Jennings red shirted for her junior season due to a knee injury and was anxious to get back. “It was nerve wrecking, this was a big race (because of being out for a year), as many races as I’ve run each time you always feel like you are on the line with each race,” Jennings said. Jennings had nothing to be nervous about-she placed fourth in the 6,000 meter course with a 21:50 time. She held her own, going head-to-head with heavily recruited cross country girls from division one schools like Columbia, Penn State, and Syracuse.
Junior Brittany Zuver also had a strong race. The women’s team took seventh overall at the invitational. “The women could have done better; they have some things to work on; we need to tweak a couple of things and work on certain things with certain people,” Young said. Young is confident that after seeing the performance at this race he knows exactly what to work on to take the women’s team to the next level. “My goal is to get the girls to run a little faster, around 45 to 50 seconds faster,” Young said. “We have a young group of girls who all have a lot of potential, it was their first race; it’s always difficult to get adjusted to the race plan,” Jennings said.
According to Young, the men’s team “Did really well, they had a nice pack and stuck together.” Junior James Boyer turned in the top performance in the 5.2 mile race for the men completing the race in 27:55 and finishing 34th. Adam Malloy brought in another top performance as he finished second for the Marauder men’s team, and 36th overall.
The men’s team finished first, out of the PSAC teams at the race and sixth out of the 14 teams competing. “My expectations for the race were met with the men’s team. They were running head-to-head with the other PSAC schools at the race,” Young said.
Young has taken the results of the Harry Grove Spike Shoe Invitational as an eye opener for what needs to be done to ensure future victories This week they will go back to the vigorous training schedule with the men’s team running an average of 100 miles per week, and the women 60 miles per week. “Coach Young’s philosophy is we have to train hard to be ready for the end of the season,” Jennings points out. “I’ve improved, and gotten stronger with Coach Young’s training schedule; it’s really good we’ve done well with him as our coach,” Jennings said. Young will work to guide his team in the right direction and focus on those specific people who underperformed at last Saturday’s meet.
This Saturday, the Marauders will travel to Dickinson University to take on the Long/Short Invitational. The invitational at Dickinson will be a “milestone race” according to Young. The Marauder’s will be up against fellow PSAC team Shippensburg who has a high ranked women’s and men’s cross country team. The Marauders have a lot going for them, and both players and their coach agree they have potential to be dynamite this season. “We are still progressing,” Young said. “We all trained hard this summer and we are a strong team,” Jennings said.
With Coach Young’s guidance, work ethic, and the depth of talent on the team, Marauder cross country has a successful future ahead of them.