Point Park Globe

XC women place 16 at NAIA Great Lakes Challenge

Shields takes fourth individual win; Campbell places 16th overall

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Freshman Alyssa Campbell competes in the Carnegie Mellon University Invitational earlier this month. Campbell placed 16th overall in the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge last Saturday and was the highest placing freshman.

Freshman Alyssa Campbell competes in the Carnegie Mellon University Invitational earlier this month. Campbell placed 16th overall in the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge last Saturday and was the highest placing freshman.

Photo by Gracey Evans

Photo by Gracey Evans

Freshman Alyssa Campbell competes in the Carnegie Mellon University Invitational earlier this month. Campbell placed 16th overall in the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge last Saturday and was the highest placing freshman.

Written By Robert Berger, Sports Photo Editor

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After having a weekend off, the cross country team competed in Grand Rapids Michigan last weekend where senior Anna Shields won her fourth race of the season, helping her team to a sixth place finish.

Competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Great Lakes Challenge, Shields completed the five-kilometer course in 17 minutes, 48 seconds. Four seconds ahead of sophomore Alexis Miller of Aquinas College.

With two weeks of rest under her belt, Shields maintained an average mile time of 5 minutes, 43 seconds. This was the fourth time Shields took first place individually this season.

The team competed against 19 other schools Saturday, ten of which are ranked in the top ten of the weekly NAIA top 25 poll. In the most recent poll, Point Park is ranked 16th in the nation.

“The competition was a really big eye opener… before we faced a lot of D-1, D-2 or D-3 teams but there I was just thinking these girls are all my competition this time so I just really wanted to beat them,” freshman Alyssa Campbell said.

The race was delayed due to a thunderstorm prior to the race, but Campbell was able to finish second overall for Point Park placing 16th in 18 minutes, 48 seconds.

“When we went back out, the ground was very muddy but still very firm because it was a silt course,” Campbell said. “It was also very cold, but we didn’t really let the conditions affect us.”

Campbell finished first out of any freshman in the race, nine spots ahead of the second placing freshman, Corinne O’Leary of Taylor University.

“The freshmen are all very positive, and they are all very hardworking which is a nice breath of fresh air,” senior Kara Rohlf said. “Alyssa Campbell is very talented and I hope she can stick it out the next few years because I think she can do really great things for the team.”

Senior Katie Guarnaccia was next to finish with a time of 19 minutes, 21 seconds. Nearly one minute faster than her time from the last time Point Park was in action at the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Invitational.

The fourth Pioneer to cross the finish line was senior Kara Rohlf who completed the course in 19 minutes, 49 seconds. Following Rohlf to round out the top five Point Park finishers was Reba Bartram with a finish in 19 minutes, 49 seconds. A 37 second improvement on her finish at the CMU Invitational.

Like the women’s team, the men competed against a number of top NAIA schools, 12 of which are ranked in the current top 25 poll. The Pioneers placed 18th overall with the University of Saint Francis of Illinois. winning the meet.

Junior Xavier Stephens placed first for the Pioneers in 47th and completed the course with a personal record  time of 26 minutes, 40 seconds. Knocking four seconds off his former time.

“I just have to fix a couple things in my race, I ran a PR but I don’t think that’s the best race I can have this season,” Stephens said.”

Using the flat course to his advantage, Stephens took a slow start and pushed himself as the race progressed.

Following Stephens, junior Bryan Gutierrez was second to finish for the Pioneers in 27 minutes, 10 seconds. The next two Pioneers to cross the finish line was Carlos Polanco and Zach Jenkins in 28 minutes, 11 seconds and 28 minutes, 13 seconds respectively.

The Pioneers will continue their season Nov. 3 in Owensboro Kentucky. in the River States Conference Championship meet.

“West Virginia Tech will be our biggest competition there… a couple guys from Ohio Christian will give us some competition but I think we can perform well,” Stephens said.

The winner of the meet will earn a trip to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to compete in the NAIA National Championship Nov. 16.

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