Shields shines at Akron meet, teams place sixth

Men’s and women’s cross country teams compete against NCAA Division I schools


Photo by Robert Berger

Senior Anna Shields leads the final stretch during the 2017 Walsh University invite. Last weekend Shields took first overall at the Akron invitational while competing against a number of D-1 athletes. Shields was named River States Conference runner of the week.

Written By Dara Collins, Co-Sports Editor

The men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at the NCAA Division I University of Akron Tommy Evans Invitational last Saturday. Senior Anna Shields highlighted the women’s race, and both sides finished sixth as teams.

On the women’s side, Point Park ranked No. 17 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and ran against NCAA Division I schools including Akron, the University of Pittsburgh, Robert Morris University, Kent State University, Cleveland State University and Youngstown State University. The men saw three top tier schools including Akron, Kent State and Youngstown.

Shields finished the 5,000-meter race in 17 minutes and 33 seconds, leading the pack for the entirety of the race. The NAIA All-American finished one second ahead of Akron’s Mackenzie Andrews.

“It was an exciting race, and I felt proud to pull it off because it was definitely hard,” Shields said.

The remaining top five women finished under 20 minutes and 13 seconds, including Alyssa Campbell in 11th place, Kara Rohlf in 33rd, Katie Guarnaccia in 43rd and Reba Bartram in 45th. Alex Barr and Taylor Celich followed in 46th and 54th, respectively, to round out the top seven.

“I thought that we competed very well against some very good teams,” Shields said.

On the men’s side, all of the top seven finished under 22 minutes and 6 seconds, for the four-mile race.

Head coach Kelly Parsley spoke with Point Park Sports about the men’s squad prior to the meet.

“We have a group of kids that I think if one’s having a bad day, we definitely have some athletes that will step up,” Parsley said.

Junior Xavier Stephens led the men in 31st place with a time of 21 minutes and 7 seconds. The remainder of the top seven included an array of Pioneers, with three freshmen. The 2018 freshman class is strong, according to Parsley.

A trio of Butler High School graduates, Doug Kostelansky, Robert Hays and Camden Seybert, finished in 33rd, 39th and 40th place, respectively. The remaining spots included Connor Wright in 34th, Bryan Gutierrez in 38th and Sean Hilverding.

The Pioneers will be back in action on Sept. 22 at the Lock Haven Invitational.