Women take third at Lock Haven, Shields on top again


Photo by Robert Berger

Anna Shields competes in the 2017 Walsh Invitational. Last weekend at Lock Haven, Shields won her third race in a row, and the team placed 3rd overall.

Written By Robert Berger, Sports Photo Editor

The women’s cross country team spent Saturday afternoon at Lock Haven University competing in the school’s invitational, placing third overall with senior Anna Shields topping it off to finish first overall.

“We really showed that we can be a top 10 NAIA team with this race,” Shields said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we move up in the rankings next time, especially if we do well at Louisville.”

Competing against seventeen schools, the Pioneers finished behind West Virginia University and The University of West Chester. Shields completed the women’s 6k in 20 minutes, 37 seconds.

Two runners from West Virginia took an early lead, but Shields maintained her pace only a few steps behind.

“A couple girls went out for it right from the gun at almost a sprint,” Shields said. “I was telling myself not to get intimidated… I just stayed within myself through the 5k and I realized I brought it home pretty excited.”

As the race continued, Shields caught up and used the flat Lock Haven course to her advantage.

“It’s the kind of course that favors me as a person who is better at track,” Shields said “I like to just get into a pace and feel comfortable with that.”

On the season, the Pioneers have competed in three events and Shields has finished first in each one. The win on Saturday set a new school record for the 6k event.

Just shy of the top 10, freshman Alyssa Campbell finished second for Point Park, placing 11th overall in 22 minutes, 18 seconds. Campbell improved one place in the overall standings since the team’s last outing at the University of Akron, in which she placed 12th completing the 5k in 18 minutes, 44 seconds.

“Alyssa has been consistent and her times have been great,” senior Taylor Celich said. “Normally it’s hard for a freshman to transition and still carry the same times, and she is which says a lot about her.”

Fellow freshman Reba Bartram also finished in the top 40, finishing the course in 23 minutes, 19 seconds, placing her 39th overall. Bartram was the third Pioneer to cross the finish line, with senior Kara Rohlf finishing three seconds in front of Bartram at 35th and third for Point Park.

Finishing fourth and fifth for the Pioneers was senior Katie Guarnaccia and sophomore Alex Barr, finishing in 23 minutes, 35 seconds and 24 minutes, 17 seconds respectively. Following Guarnaccia was Celich in 25 minutes, 42 seconds.

Currently, the Pioneer women rank 16th in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) rankings.

The men’s team competed in an 8k for the first time this year, and were led by Junior Xavier Stephens. This season, Stephens has led his team each week. Completing the course in 26 minutes, 46 seconds, Stephens placed 35th overall.

“I love running on  the flat courses but I think I could have ran a little better than I did Saturday,” Stephens said. “It was the first 8k of the season so we’ll get where we need to be.”

Now in his third year on the team, Stephens has become one of the most consistent performing runners.

“I feel a lot stronger than I have and I think it’s showing in my workouts and training for sure,” Stephens said. “I think I went out a little too slow but I’ll look for mistakes I made to improve my future races.”    

Finishing behind Stephens for the team in 27 minutes, 4 seconds was junior Eric Torres. Junior Bryan Gutierrez finished 11 seconds later becoming the third Pioneer to cross the finish line.

The top placing freshman on the day was Camden Seybert who finished fourth for the Pioneers in 27 minutes, 32 seconds. Freshman Doug Kostelansky followed, running a personal record of 27 minutes, 49 seconds.

Point Park will travel to Louisville, Kentucky to compete in the Greater Louisville Classic Saturday. During last year’s trip to Louisville, the women and men finished 5th and 12th respectively.