The Marauder cross country team had back-to-back Saturdays of the most important meets of the season, the PSAC championships on Nov. 1, and the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Championship on Nov. 8.
The PSAC championship race “was for in my opinion all the bragging rights in the PSAC conference,” said Head Coach Andy Young.
The Marauders endured a tough week prior to the race with devastating injuries to two top-ranked teammates junior Ben Brewer, and senior Jessica Leddy.
This, along with other circumstances, cost the Marauder’s an eighth place finish overall for the women, and a ninth-place finish overall for the men respectively.
“The PSAC Championship was disappointing,” Young said. “The competition was tough. People ran ridiculously fast. We were predicted to be ranked seventh, and our goal was to be ranked fifth so we were a little off.”
For the men’s team junior Adam Malloy finished first for the Marauders and 13th overall in the PSAC Championships.
“Adam had his best race ever by a lot, he had a great race,” said Young.
On the women’s side junior Priscilla Jennings finished fifth overall in the race. Jennings earned All-PSAC honors for her outstanding performance.
“Jennings was bummed about the race, we didn’t back down from her training for regionals so she was really tired,” said Young.
Even though the Marauders were disappointed with their performance in the PSAC Championships they still had an optimistic outlook for the following Saturday.
This was the biggest race of the season the NCAA Division II Atlantic
“Last year we didn’t do that great at the PSAC Championships, but did a lot better at the regional race,” said Young.
Young also felt a good sense of confidence in his team “the regional race is a longer race, the men are better with a longer race, it gives them more time to catch up and pass other teams. That’s what their problem was at the PSAC race.”
Young was determined that with rest and the right mentality the Marauders would do exceptionally well at regionals.
“It’s all mental now, the team just has to get in the right mental state and push themselves for this last race,” said Young.
The optimism paid off when the Marauders arrived at Slippery Rock University for the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region Championship.
Out of the 25 teams competing the Marauder women’s team took 7th place, the men’s team matched that performance with a 7th place finish also out of 25 teams.
Once again, Jennings led her team with a first place finish for the Marauders, and third overall in the race.
Jennings earned her spot on the All-Region team, which is comprised of the top 15 finishers. Junior Brittney Zuver just missed a spot on the team with a finish of 19th overall. Malloy had the first place finish for the men at regionals he finished 26th overall with a time of 33:30 in the race.
Junior Jim Boyer took second-best time for the Marauders, and 29th overall.
The Marauders had a mentally and physically draining season.
They weathered injuries and had their ups and downs. Both the men’s and women’s teams had tremendous performances this season, and the Marauders hope next season will only get better.