Men and women both take top-five finish on Senior Day

Written By Ben Reinke, Staff Writer

Photo by Nick Koehler
The seniors of the men’s and women’s cross country teams were honored at the CMU Invitational as a part of Senior Day. Between both cross country teams, six athletes are graduating.

Last Saturday, the cross country team traveled to Pittsburgh’s own Schenley Park to host the annual Carnegie Mellon Invitational. 

Both teams are used to racing on the Schenley course, which showed in the results. The women’s and men’s teams placed fourth and fifth respectively. 

“This is our third meet, and we’re continuing to improve,” head coach Jim Spisak said prior to the race. “I think we want to come away from this meet feeling that we did well. We want to run with, and even beat, runners that have been faster than us throughout the season. I think the kids all feel pretty confident, and they’re in a good place mentally going in.”   

Sophomore standout Alyssa Campbell took first place in the 5,000-meter race, with a time of 18 minutes and 36 seconds. 

“I was not expecting that for sure,” Campbell said. “It was so humbling, so special.” 

Junior Reba Bartram followed closely behind Campbell, taking home third with a time of 19 minutes and 17 seconds.

Rounding out the women’s team was Alyssa Frausto in 32nd, Alyssa Boyd in 40th, Alex Barr in 64th, Natalia Zucco in 75th and Mya Jackson in 89th. 

Sophomore Mya Jackson put up a personal best of 25 minutes in the meet.

“It was very exciting,” Jackson said. “Since we were at Schenley, I was already familiar with the course. Last year, I ran around 29 minutes, and then it went down to 27. Then, it went down to 25. I only started running my senior year of high school, so it felt like a really good time for me.” 

Jackson credits her team for pushing her to her most recent achievement. 

“The team motivates me,” Jackson explained. “I was intimidated and scared, but the team was so supportive and encourages me to run faster every time.” 

On the men’s side, senior captain Xavier Stephens led the Pioneers with a ninth-place finish.

Following Stephens was Brody Carlin in 15th, Doug Kostelansky in 26th, Bryan Gutierrez in 30th, Dylan Allen in 40th, Carlos Polanco in 45th and John Ziegler in 50th. 

The men’s team ran just as well as the women’s team, with the top five men all finishing the 8,000-meter race with times under 29 minutes.

Both cross country teams have a few weeks to continue training before Saturday, Oct. 26, when they will head to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Great Lakes Challenge in Grand Rapids, Mich.