Men’s and Women’s Cross Country compete in Lock Haven Invitational, finish in top-15

Written By Antonio Rossetti, Co-Sports Editor

On September 24, Point Park Cross Country traveled to Lock haven, PA for the Lock Haven Invitational. This is the second year in a row that they competed at the event.

The Pioneers took the trip north to Lock Haven University, where 40 teams raced in both the men’s and women’s meets.

Calijin de Bie, a sophomore women’s cross country runner who moved to Point Park from Hilverum, Netherlands, ran in her second meet for the Pioneers. She loved the course and was glad that the conditions were great for running.

“It was very easy to run and the weather was also pretty good because it was around 60-70 degrees,” de Bie said. “The sun was pretty bright and warm, but we had a lot of parts that were in the shade, so you could cool down a little bit. It was a great course, I would recommend running there.”

The women’s cross country team looked to continue their success as they were in 3rd place out of 12 teams in their last meet at the St. Vincent’s Invitational. That was also their first meet of the year.

The Pioneers faced competition all around the United States ranging from Division-1 Ivy league teams such as Cornell and Princeton, and teams in the River States Conference, such as rival IU Kokomo.

The Pioneers replicated their success as they finished 11th out of 40 teams, which was even better than last year, when they finished 14th. The Pioneers notched 347 points en route to their 11th-place finish.

Point Park’s top 8 runners were senior Alyssa Campbell (22:12.70), who was also 20th overall, sophomore Jana Schmid (23:14.00), de Bie (23:18.50), junior Allison Plassio (23:33.60), senior Natalia Zucco (24:43.20), freshman Kiyara Sawyers (25:21.50), sophomore Corinne Lee-Hauser (26:27.60), sophomore Sophia Lee-Hauser (26:56.20), and junior Chandni Shah (27:11.90).

The Pioneers had 7 of their runners run the 6k in under 27 minutes at Lock Haven. De Bie was happy to see that the team all made an impact together.

“It just feels good that people are doing great because then they’re happy, and if they’re happy, I’m happy,” de Bie said. “It’s just nice to see everybody PR and just get out of them what they can do, because there is so much potential, and I feel like we can do even better if we try to keep this up. And I think we’re doing great so far.”

With the amount of talent on the team, de Bie loves racing for Point Park, thanks to her teammates, who were very welcoming when she first arrived on campus, and her teammates motivate her while they race. She often looks at sophomore Jana Schmid as they both have similar numbers, but different strategies.

“She is very good at the end and I’m more at the middle and the starting part,” de Bie said. “That’s good for me. I start fast and then I tried to keep that pace, and I slow down at the end. And Jana is the exact opposite. She starts fast, she slows down a little bit in the middle, and then she goes very fast at the end, so we try to keep up with each other. So today went very well.”

Overall, the team’s strategy proved to be successful as they were 11th out of 40 teams from around the country. Cornell finished 1st at Lock Haven.

De Bie sees a lot of potential for the team this year and hopes the team can make it to Nationals as a team.

“I thought we did great because there were a lot of good teams there like division one and division two and we’re in a different conference,” de Bie said. “I think if you look at our conference, we will be in the top four or three. I’m not sure how many of them (RSC teams) were there today, but I feel like we will be up there.”

For the men’s team, they would also have a decent showing, as seven runners finished the 8k in under 28 minutes.

The Pioneers top 8 included sophomore Jannik Windelband (27:03.50), sophomore Elijah James (27:09.00), sophomore John Dyar (27.30:60), senior Treven Carter (27:32.70), senior Josh Gosselin (27:33.40), freshman Gabe Ebersole (27:41.10), senior John Ziegler (27:47.20), and senior Deven Carter (28:46.00).

James saw the meet as a success, as the majority of the team performed at a high level.

“We pretty much had the entire team come under 28 for the race,” James said. “My friend Jannik beat me by six seconds at 27:03, and I’m really proud of him. I was number one at 27:03, and we had five guys come in at 27:30 for the 8000 meter. It was pretty good.”

The top three runners were all underclassmen, and he sees the team improving since last season. James, the sophomores, and freshmen are now all settled in and are excited to see how the season goes.

“It was really good to be able to just come out here and race,” James said. “But the younger guys this year, they have been putting in some really good work. They are with us during workouts and stuff like that. And then one person and particularly as a freshman, I really liked Josh because that guy is so determined.”

James was happy that the team got to compete against teams from all divisions. James spoke highly of the seniors on the team as they have motivated the team.

“I really love the seniors,” James said. “They try to pump us up and give us the energy to run. Especially Doug (Kostelansky). He really knows how to motivate and lead. He really knows how to motivate me before the race. I literally go to a race with no confidence at all and can be so scared or super nervous and he talks to me and I’m able to calm down a little bit and be able to perform.”

Kostelansky’s support proved to be successful, as he was 1st for the team in his last meet, finishing 9th overall and 2nd at Lock Haven. He also gives a lot of credit to the Carter brothers, Logan Gonzales, and Ziegler for giving the team a family-like atmosphere. James considers Ziegler, the team captain, the heart of the team.

James looks forward to seeing how the team progresses throughout the season.

“Our goal for the rest of the years is when it’s conferences, to make it to Nationals, and hopefully do really great at Nationals,” James said. “I’m really loving the energy that the team has, overall because I feel everyone’s just positive on a team. You actually want to go to practice and see the guys and stuff like that. Same with the girl’s team. They’re really positive. That’s one aspect I love about both teams.”