Cross country teams hitting their stride at the right time
By Lyddia Ankrom, athletic communications student assistant
Oct. 28, 2009
PITTSBURGH - The Point Park University men's and women's cross country teams are taking some much-needed time off this week, and the Pioneers are looking ahead to the American Mideast Conference Championship Meet Nov. 7.
Point Park is not competing in a meet this weekend, but will be in action Nov. 7 at the AMC meet hosted by Cedarville.
Both Point Park cross country teams are hitting their stride at the right time, and the Pioneers are just now getting back on track after their training was affected by last month's Pittsburgh G-20 Summit.
The university was closed from Sept. 23-26 due to the Pittsburgh Summit, which was held in and around downtown Pittsburgh Sept. 24-25. As a result, the Pioneers lost a week of training and had to withdraw from the St. Vincent Invitational Sept. 26.
The following week, Point Park's times were slower than usual Oct. 3 at Pitt-Greensburg, but things improved the next week at Carnegie Mellon. After a solid showing by both teams last week at Walsh, the Pioneers are ready to finish the season strong.
"The Pittsburgh G-20 Summit hurt the team's training, but we are still doing better than we did the past two years," said Point Park men's and women's cross country coach Jim Irvin, who is in his fifth season with the Pioneers.
Both the men's and women's teams have slowly been improving over the course of the season.
"I believe we are where we should be, but the injuries of Jared Ferree and Makenzie Smith have put us back a bit," said Irvin, referring to injuries to one of the top runners on the men's and women's team, respectively.
As always, cross country is an individual sport in which the runners are constantly trying to beat their own personal-best time.
"I would like to see my runners beating their PR, which is their personal record, before the end of the season and hopefully at the AMC Championship Meet at Cedarville," said Irvin.
Reuben Rono, a sophomore on the men's team and a native of Kapsabet, Kenya, had a time of 27:57 and placed ninth at the Walsh Invitational Saturday. That is the best time for the men's team this year.
Dylan Grunn, a freshman from Honesdale, Pa., had his best placement at Walsh when he was 16th overall. His best time of the year came at Waynesburg when he finished in 28:42.
On the women's cross country team, Lindsay Dill, a sophomore from Erie, Pa., has the fastest time of the year with a 21:10 at the season-opening meet at California (Pa.). She placed 12th at Waynesburg and 14th at Penn State-Behrend.
Sarah Austin, a sophomore from Sweet Valley, Pa., has the team's best placement this year with an 11th-place showing at Waynesburg.
Entering their final meet of the season, the cross country runners will continue to do the "typical" training but will start to do some tapering, which are short, fast workouts.
"The team has been doing real well, they have a positive attitude and are good students academically as well," Irvin said, "I'm really proud of how well they are doing this year."