Point Park XC competes in Huntington invite

Written By Chandni Shah, Copy Desk Chief

This past weekend the men and women’s cross country team traveled to Huntington University in Indiana for their second invitational of the season. Despite their last meet’s cancellation due to coronavirus concerns, the Pioneers continue to keep up their performance. The men’s team placed 5th overall, and the women’s team placed 4th.

Senior athlete Dylan Allen, came in first place for Point Park and 12th overall in the men’s 8k, marking another great race for the runner. Allen ran a 27:28, keeping a pace of 5:32 per mile.

“I felt great for breaking my record by around 30 seconds, surpassing my record from Lock Haven in 2018,” Allen said. “Even if I could have placed higher, I was still happy with my place at 12th out of 78.”

Allen would also like to thank his coaches, Jim Spisak, Andrew Barrett, Tim Creamer and Ben Kinley for their persistent feedback and communication.

“Not just them but also my teammates for being my motivation and for their own performances during the race, personal record or not,” Allen said. “We’re still getting better, and we’re going to keep doing so after Conferences.”

Junior Alyssa Campbell took second place in the women’s 5k overall, running an 18:40. Campbell was named the River States Conference Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week back in September and currently holds a personal record of 18:28 in the 5k from her freshman year at Point Park.

Campbell has improved from the first race of the season and states that the rest of the team has as well.

“I’m really happy with my race personally. It was a good improvement from the first week and it’s only going to get better from here. I thought the same for the men’s team, they all raced their first 8k of the season so for them it was a good start, and they’ll only improve and get better,” Campbell said.

“I’m so proud of the girls team: I saw them all coming down the shoot to the finish and you could see how they were giving it their all, and to me that’s all you can ask for.”

Head Coach Jim Spisak is proud of what the team has done so far as a whole and looks forward to improvement as the season continues.

“While we thought our performance at Huntington was positive, we still have several areas we can improve in. We want to continue to get stronger on hilly courses, as our next two races will have plenty of hills.” Spisak said. “For the men, we want to emphasize pushing the pace in the middle miles of the race. For the women, we want to focus on getting out harder and becoming accustomed to a faster pace. We’ll do this by incorporating some faster intervals at practice.”

On Sept. 19, the cross country team cancelled their trip to the Indiana University East Invitational due to coronavirus concerns on the team. The whole team quarantined over that weekend until the athlete in question confirmed they tested negative for the virus. Although they missed this meet and a few days of training, Coach Spisak does not believe it affected the team’s performance in any way.

“We had two weeks to get our legs back under us before the meet at Huntington” Spisak said.

The cross country team has one meet before the River States Conference Championship and Coach Spisak is hopeful for his athletes.

“We will have two more big tests in our next two races at Taylor University on Oct. 24 and our River States Conference meet on Nov. 7. These will be big measuring sticks for how our season turned out. But so far, I think we’ve made some good progress and have done a good job of controlling what we can and working hard.”

The men and women’s cross country team travels to Taylor University in Indiana Saturday, Oct. 24 for their next race.