By Alex Reid in Sports
November 3, 2011
Head Coach Aaron Russell’s varsity runners got the day off on Sunday as his non-varsity athletes helped lift the men’s cross country team to a second-place finish in the LHU River Run at West Branch Cross Country Course.
The Bald Eagles kept a tight pack along the 8 km course from the start, but unattached runner Rosario Rodney took control of the race after the first mile en route to victory. Rodney finished with a time of 26.25.30
The Bald Eagles’ top finisher, sophomore Tyler Hileman ( Altoona, Pa./Altoona), finished fifth, exactly 25 seconds later.
Victory may have eluded the Bald Eagles, but the squad finished in second place behind rival Shippensburg.
Although the Red Raiders won the race, Coach Aaron Russell was pleased with LHU’s overall performance and the squad’s ability to remain focused following the postponement of the original event which was scheduled for Saturday.
“This has been a season of obstacles for us and with the snow storm coming in yesterday, I was really impressed with how the athletes were able to stay focused,” said Russell.
Also finishing in the top 10 for LHU were freshman Michael Doyle (Holland, Pa./Council Rock South), who placed seventh with a time of 26.53.40 and senior Matt Mazur (Hazleton, Pa./Hazleton) who finished ninth with a time of 27.17.40 The Bald Eagles return to action Saturday at Slippery Rock University when they compete in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Championships.
Russell will making a bid for his fifth regional championship; his first since 2008.
The LHU women also finished second in the LHU River Run on Sunday.
Head Coach Aaron Russell has high expectations to not only win the regional, but also to lead the Lad Eagles to their first national championship.
Like the men’s squad, many of the women’s top varsity runners took the race off, allowing some of LHU’s non-varsity athletes to compete in the contest.
The Shippensburg women set the race’s tone with a feverish pace right from the start and were able to keep their squad in a tight pack for the duration of the 6km course.
Before the Lady Eagles could reach the first mile, the Lady Raiders had a sizable lead that they would never relinquish on their way to team and individual titles.
The Red Raiders were led by Katie Wiechelt who took the individual title with a time of 23.13.70.
The Lady Eagles top performer was freshman Ashley Daniels (Danville, Pa./Danville) who finished in sixth place with a time of 24.02.50.
Russell said he was optimistic about his team’s performance and glad that many of his non-varsity athletes had the opportunity to finish their season on their home course.
“I think it’s kind of tough, because many of these athletes aren’t on that championship squad and yet they still continue to stay motivated and work hard throughout the course of the season. I’m so proud of their attitude and the effort they put forth in today’s race,” he added.
The Lady Eagles had other good performances from sophomore Jessica McDonald (Marietta, Pa./Donegal) and freshman Katie Kravitz (Wyoming, Pa./Dallas) who finished 10th and 11th with times of 24.31.10 and 24.35.70 respectively.
The Lady Eagles return to action Saturday Rock to compete for the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional Championships.