On a rainy and muddy Saturday morning at Edinboro University, the Shippensburg University men’s and women’s cross-country squads put in impressive performances at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championship, with the men’s team placing second and the women capturing the title.
SU had seven All-PSAC qualifiers for the men, including four First-Team finishers in graduate Albert Schrimp, seniors Dominic Stroh and Sean Weidner and freshman Nate Kaplon. Freshman Cade Rush and juniors Rob Moser and Connor Holm earned Second-Team honors to round out the Top 30 runners.
Schrimp was only running in his first PSAC championship race after competing for Wheeling Jesuit University, but grabbed ninth in 27:18 to pace the Raiders. Stroh followed in 10th, finishing just one second behind Schrimp in 27:19.
It was the best race of Stroh’s career, earning him first First-Team honors after placing in the Second Team in his first two championship appearances.
Weidner grabbed 12th in 27:28 for his third consecutive First-Team nomination and second for SU. The freshmen were particularly strong for the Raiders on Saturday, as Kaplon rounded out the Top 15 with a time of 27:40. Rush was right behind him in 16th, finishing in 27:44 for the last scoring run for the squad.
Moser and Holm finished 22nd (27:58) and 30th (28:23), respectively, as the final Raiders on the All-PSAC squad. Even with all the top finishes, the Raiders finished second to an outstanding Edinboro squad.
SU would get its revenge against the Fighting Scots, as the women all ran strong and reclaimed their title after dropping the closest finish in PSAC history last season to Edinboro.
The Raiders lost by two points last season after winning the championship in 2016. The win on Saturday made it 11 straight seasons in which the squad has placed in the Top 3 at the championships.
The margin of victory was not much better than last season, as SU squeezed by with a four-point advantage. The conditions on the course were terrible, as the women ran after the men and the terrain was even more slick and muddy than it had been earlier in the day.
The young members of the team put on a show and were the driving force in the Raider victory.
Sophomore Natalee Serwatka led the charge with a sixth-place finish (24:14) and was followed closely by fellow sophomore Bella Marchini in ninth (24:26).
Freshman Kaylee Mowery finished as the top freshman in the championship, taking 12th in 24:33. Mowery, Serwatka and Marchini all earned First-Team honors for the first time in their careers — it was the first appearance in the competition for both Serwatka and Mowery.
Reliable seniors Jackie Kinkead and Lindsey Gerlach both came through with great finishes, as they finished 21st (24:55) and 23rd (25:08), respectively. According to coach Steve Spence, Gerlach went up five spots during a big push in the last 150 meters.
Gerlach’s determined finish played a big part in the team’s win — had she not made that final push, SU would likely have finished second to Edinboro.
The title is SU’s ninth in the program’s history. The Raiders now have a weekend off before closing out their season at the NCAA Atlantic Region Championships in Pittsburgh on Nov. 17.