It was a day to remember for the members of the Shippensburg University men’s cross-country team.
They successfully defended their Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) title in the 8K competition Saturday, holding off the Fighting Scots of Edinboro University. The Raiders came into the event ranked No. 22 in the country in Division II, the only team in the Atlantic Region to be ranked.
The race was held at California University of Pennsylvania, which has one of the toughest courses in the region.
The title came in the competition following the Carnegie Mellon Invitational which saw the Raiders claim the team title and Dominic Stroh finish in first place. Stroh did not compete at the 2017 Championships.
It was the third time since 2010 that the Raiders have brought the title back to Shippensburg and the fifth year in a row with a Top 3 finish. SU put four runners in the Top 10 and one in 16th on its way to the title.
Alex Balla was the highest-ranking Raider, coming in second with a time of 26:39.4. The performance earned Balla a spot on the All-PSAC First Team for the third consecutive year.
Calvin Conrad-Kline was next for SU, placing fifth with a time of 26:48.8. He also got into the First Team for the third year in a row. Rob Moser followed in seventh in 27:07.5 for his first time in the First Team.
Rounding out the scoring runners for the champions were Sean Weidner and Harrison Schettler, finishing eighth and 16th, respectively. Weidner transferred to SU and this was his first All-PSAC First Team placement as a Raider, having earned the honor last season with Lock Haven University. He finished in 27:12 at the championships.
Schettler earned his spot on the All-PSAC Second Team for the second consecutive year with a time of 27:57.4 to give SU valuable points to edge out Edinboro.
The Fighting Scots had athletes finish in the first, sixth, 12th, 17th and 21st places to take second with 57 points. The Raiders finished with 38 points after strong performances from their runners.
With the win, the Raiders will look to sweep the PSAC competition in the Atlantic Region Championships for the second straight season.
The women’s team also put in a strong showing, coming in a close second to Edinboro. It ended as the closest finish in PSAC history with SU totaling 89 points to Edinboro’s 87.
The reigning PSAC champions, the team performed well, but a matter of seconds kept it from defending its title. The runners cannot be disappointed with such an effort, but they will be looking forward to reclaiming the championship next season.
Bryanna Dissinger took ninth to place as the top Raider. She finished in 23:25 to join the All-PSAC First Team for the second year in a row. Lydia Cagle followed Dissinger in 12th for her first All-PSAC honor, joining the First Team.
Cagle finished in 23:35 which helped her improve her finish by 42 places from last season. She had also never been a Top 3 finisher for the Raiders before the event.
Jackie Kinkead took 19th to join the All-PSAC Second Team. Her time of 23:49 gave her a new PR at the championships after she finished 20th last season.
Lizzie Manickas and Emily Kachik were the final two Raiders to score, with finishes of 20th and 29th, respectively. Both joined the Second Team, with Manickas earning the honor for the third time in her career and Kachik, her second.
The result of the race could have been reversed with only one shift in finishers. Two or three seconds would have changed the story, but SU put in a very strong effort to take second.
The next competition will come in two weeks as the Raiders head to Lock Haven to take part in the Atlantic Region Championships.