It was no secret that the Shippensburg University men’s and women’s cross-country teams were in for their share of a unique season.
For starters, both teams had only two regular season meets on their schedules. The competitive field at most contests had shrunk. However, the end goal was to see the light at the end of the tunnel: The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championships.
That end goal was brought to fruition Saturday, with both teams taking the course at Lock Haven University.
The Raiders had a slight advantage entering the meet as the teams’ first contest took place at Lock Haven. However, the course presented a different feel this time around — the Feb. 23 meet was a road race due to poor course conditions brought on by snow.
Despite the course change, the Raiders concluded their season with respective finishes; the men’s team notched a second-place curtain, and the women’s team capped off their season with a seventh-place tally.
The men’s team’s second-place title came way of their 64 points, only trailing winners of both races, Edinboro University. The Raiders improved from their showing in the 2019 championships, jumping from third to second.
Similar to last year’s championships, sophomore and All-PSAC First Time honoree, Chayce Macknair, who had already sported a first and second-place finish this year, led the way for SU, piling on his impressive stat sheet with a fifth-place finish and a time of 15:21.7. Additionally, his fifth-place execution bests his performance from last season in which he finished 11th.
Following Macknair, fellow sophomore and All-PSAC First Team awardee Andrew Dailey placed ninth with a time of 15:41.5, rounding out the SU runners in the Top 10. The 2020 PSAC Men’s Indoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year ends his campaign with two third-place tallies in addition to Saturday’s finishing of ninth.
Freshman Hayden Hunt led the first-year group, placing 12th at a time of 15:48.8. His noteworthy performance is the cornerstone to a solid rookie outing, which includes a pair of fourth-place markings.
Making his SU debut, Freshman Ian Sherlock made a lasting first impression, finishing 13th with a time of 15:50.3. He became the fourth Raider to bode the All-PSAC First Team list and crack the Top 20.
Freshman Aiden Gonder, who placed 26th at the 16:09.9 mark — a bright ending to a promising first-year campaign — presented to be good enough for All-PSAC Second Team honors.
Other notable placings for the men’s team included junior Nate Kaplon (35th) at 16:22.2, sophomore Alexander Ermold (52nd) at 16:40.1 and sophomore Cole Harris (68th) pacing 17:05.3.
Sophomore Nathan Harding, freshman Ryan Scicchitano and junior Andrew Feldman placed 76th, 80th and 81st, respectively. The trio hit times of 17:16.0, 17:26.9 and 17:27.4.
The Raiders extended their streak of Top 3 finishes at the PSAC Championships to eight years.
The women’s team also boosted their play from last year, going from eighth to seventh, thanks to their 191 points in Saturday’s contest.
Junior Kyra Gerber, who placed 15th with a time of 19:24.5, earned All-PSAC First Team honors and represented SU as its No. 1 runner. Gerber, who did not make her first appearance until the team’s second meet during the regular season, built off her momentum from then, when she finished second.
Sophomore Isabelle Gulgert, 11 seconds off Gerber’s pace at 19:35.5, also earning All-PSAC honors (second team), notched a 22nd place finish for the Raiders. Prior to Saturday, Gulgert served as one of the women’s team’s top runners, thanks in part to first and sixth-place finishes.
Senior Isabella Marchini, seeing her first cross-country action this year, ended her collegiate career on a high note with a 34th-place curtain and a time of 19:55.8. Marchini earned All-PSAC First Team and All-Atlantic Region First Team honors in 2018.
Freshman Leah Moffit paced at 20:35.2, earning 56th.
Freshman standout Isabelle Weikert added to SU’s scoring at 64th, crossing the finish line at 20:43.2.
Sophomores Mackenzie Kurtz (77th) and Amanda Lavana (89th) rounded out the notable Raider representees with times of 21:07.1 and 21:21.2.