Cross Country finishes second in RSC Championship

Written By Antonio Rossetti, Co-Sports Editor

On November 6, Point Park Cross Country competed in their fifth meet this year, where they competed in the River States Conference (RSC) Championship. This year, the RSC Championship took place in Richmond, Indiana, which is the home course for Indiana University East (IU East).

Last year, the women’s cross country team finished 6th out of 12 teams in the RSC Championship, and team captain Alyssa Campbell was unable to compete. This year was a redemption year, and the team looked to make an impact at the RSC Championship.

The Pioneers tallied 61 points, which was only 3 points behind St. Mary-of-the-Woods, who finished in first. The team finished second place out of 12 teams.

Point Park’s top runner was senior Alyssa Campbell who came in first out of all runners. Campbell finished the 5k with a time of 18.29.1. This is Campbell’s fourth time this year finishing in the top three of a meet, including a second-place finish at the Bethany Invitational and the Carnegie Mellon Invitational and a third-place finish at the NAIA Great Lakes Challenge. Her effort in the Great Lakes Challenge helped lead her team to first place, which was their first time finishing in the first place since the Midwest XC Challenge in 2020.

The Pioneer’s top seven after Campbell were freshman Jana Schmidt (20:17.5), senior Alyssa Boyd (20:48.4), sophomore Allison Plassio (21:00.3), senior Alyssa Frausto (21:08.5), junior Natalia Zucco (22:09.0) and freshman Amanda Lisotto (22:32.9).

The team did not qualify for Nationals, but both Campbell and Schmidt are representing Point Park at the NAIA National Championship in Vancouver, Washington. This is Schmidt’s first time going to Nationals and Campbell’s third.

“I’m going into Nationals with an open mind this year. The field is better than in past years so I’m just going to give it my best,” Campbell said. As for Jana, we are working on getting her healthy for the race. She’s been cross-training (which is when you bike and run cause she has a leg injury and running on pavement makes it worse) the whole season, which in itself is amazing.”

Campbell added that she sees promise in Schmidt and of the underclassmen runners. She said she loves Schmidt’s dedication to running.

“She’s been injured and on the bike for about 6 weeks and got 6th place at conferences. If that doesn’t show you raw talent, then I don’t know what does. She’s so excited to race at the national level, and her goal is to have fun and to get healthy.”

While the entire team will not be at Nationals, the Pioneers are proud of their effort and improved all season long.

“We didn’t get the results that we were planning for today, but the team is still very proud of one another and we all put our best effort out there,” Campbell said.

Last season, men’s cross country finished second out of 12 teams in the RSC Championship. At the RSC Championship, Treven Carter finished seventh and finished the 8k in 28:17.23, which qualified him for Nationals.

This year, the team finished fourth out of 12 teams and were only eight points away from first place. The team’s first-place finisher in the top seven was Treven Carter who finished the 8,000 meter in 28:11.3.

Following Carter in the top seven were junior Deven Carter (28:36.6), junior John Ziegler (28:39.3), freshman Jannik Windelband (28:40.9), senior Doug Kostelansky (28:52.9), freshman Isaiah White (29:14.2) and freshman Elijah James (29:15.5).

Although they fell short of first and Nationals, the team was proud of a strong effort toward the tail end of the season. Team captain John Ziegler said he was especially satisfied with the team’s turnaround and improvements throughout the season.

“Throughout the year, we have definitely seen improvement as a team and on individual levels. We have a lot of young guys on the team and just seeing how they acclimated to the 8k was a pleasure to watch all year,” Ziegler said. “The improvements on the year were a testament to how the team is buying into the training and working towards bettering their times.”

The team went from finishing near the bottom of their first two meets to only missing first place by eight points. The team tallied 104 points this race, and the Pioneers put the work in to improve all year. Ziegler said he was also impressed with both Treven and Deven Carter’s commitment and compassion throughout the season.

“The race was definitely a positive following the race in Michigan. We hit a bit of a rut the last few races. Today the plan was just to put every one of us in contention for the best team result possible,” Ziegler said. “A big testament to the results was the phenomenal performance both Treven and Deven put out, with Treven leading the way for us. They both had a really good season and the results show it.”

Although the team did not get the result they wanted, Ziegler and Campbell said they improved throughout the season and created a family-like atmosphere for both cross country teams.. The team is excited to cheer on both Campbell and Schmidt for the NAIA National Championship, according to Ziegler.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted on either of our teams, but we are quite proud of both Alyssa and Jana for qualifying as individuals. We see them putting in the extra work every day, and the payoff was seen in the results today. We’ll definitely be cheering for them when they travel to Washington,” Ziegler said. “Next year, you can expect to see a more experienced and ready team. We’re going into an exciting indoor and outdoor track season in which we have high expectations. Once those are complete, we’ll be running plenty of miles in the summer gearing up for an even better cross country season.”

Both Campbell and Schmidt will be representing Point Park on November 19 in Vancouver, Washington.