Cross country doesn’t catch WVU Tech

Written By Chandni Shah, Co-Copy Desk Chief

This past weekend on Saturday Nov. 7 the men’s cross country team attended the River States Conference (RSC) Championship meet in Rio Grande, Ohio taking second place behind WVU Tech. 

The team’s runner-up position grants them an automatic qualification for the NAIA National Championship in the spring. 

Sophomore Treven Carter led the Pioneers placing seventh in the 8k with a time of 28:17 followed by senior Dylan Allen in ninth with a time of 28:20. Sophomore Deven Carter was third for the Pioneers with a time of 28:42. 

“I’m very happy with my performance, especially leading my team again up until the last half of our final mile, in which Treven Carter took the lead,” Allen said. “I’m very happy for qualifying for Nationals, for the very first time myself. So far, I’m competing in April with my men for cross country, that is, if the pandemic doesn’t worsen by then.” 

The race marked Allen’s third competition where he placed in the top 10, and the athlete still has one more race to go before heading into his track and field season as a distance runner. 

“I want to congratulate my men and Alyssa Boyd, for being a qualifier for Nationals, and all the other women for a fantastic race. Because of our qualifications to Nationals, our season is not over,” Allen said. 

The men raced against 12 other teams in the RSC, beating competitor IU Kokomo despite challenges due to COVID-19 the previous week. Four of the men came into close contact with COVID-19 and were in quarantine at the time of the meet. The team was quick to identify who came into contact with it, which saved the team from having to forfeit the Championship altogether. 

Sophomore John Ziegler placed 23rd with a time of 29:24, followed by the last scorer for Point Park, Dominic Zucco (29:47) in 27th.

“The meet was a success as a whole. Our goal going into the season was to qualify for the National meet as a team,” Ziegler said. “We worked well as a team from the start of the race and the stellar performances from Dylan and the Carters made the key difference for us.” 

The final athlete who competed in the race was Bailey Hourihan as the team was only able to send a total of six runners. 

“The team stepped up big especially with only six runners and every person mattered. This was single handedly the best team performance we had all year, and we all are excited to be moving on to Nationals in April,” Hourihan said. 

It is a trying time for all sports teams, but despite the challenges the men’s cross country team came through with a significant feat and will attend the NAIA National Championship on April 9, 2021 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.