Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams finish 5th and 6th in Carnegie Mellon Invitational meet

Teams competed against DI talent Duquesne, West Virginia. Women’s team has three finish Top 30, Men’s team with two

Written By Antonio Rossetti, Co-Sports Editor

The Pioneers competed in the Carnegie Mellon Invitational on Oct. 8 at 10 and 11 AM at Schenley Park against 15 other colleges from the Northeast area.

Schenley Park is where the Pioneers practice and women’s team captain Alyssa Campbell and the team prepared to run on their home course.

“The course essentially is, for women at least, it’s a mile and a half downhill and a mile and a half backed up, so we’ve been doing a lot of on the trail and on the hills, because that’s what kills everybody,” Campbell said. “Especially that last K whenever you’re trying to come up to the finish that hill is so hard, so we’ve been doing a lot of sprints on there getting ourselves prepared.”

The course is something the team is quite familiar with. Both the men’s and women’s teams had runners set personal records at the meet. The women’s team finished 5th out of 16 teams at Schenley Park for the second straight season.

The Pioneers’ top 7 runners consisted of senior Campbell (18:44.9), sophomore Carlijn de Bie (19:57.6), junior Allison Plassio (20:01.1), sophomore Jana Schmid (20:07.7), Emily Leo (20:59.4), senior Natalia Zucco (21:10.2), and freshman Kiyara Sawyers (21:21.4).

“I was really happy with it,” Campbell said. “I kind of surprised myself. I felt really good and we train on that course all the time. Literally twice a week, we’re out at Schenley running. So I think that really gave the Point Park people just like that home-field advantage in a sense.”

Campbell is so used to the course, she said that running the course felt like practice. After the race, the team was in high spirits and Campbell is excited about how the team competes for the rest of the season.

Plassio finished within the top 3 for the team, helping the team to their 5th-place finish. Leo competed in her first meet for the team and Sawyers finished in the top 7. With de Bie and Schmid finishing within the top 4 for the team, this puts the team in a spot to succeed not only this year but in the future.

“We have Jana who is healthy now and we have Carlijn who is right with Jana and Allie’s putting in the work and she’s going to be a wonderful leader for the team next year for her senior year,” Campbell said. “It’s going to be phenomenal to see what they can do and the energy is high. And again, having these young kids come in, and they’re so motivated, and they really want to do well and they’re just going to continue to get faster together.”

With the team continuing to place within the upper half at all their meets, Campbell believes that the team will continue to succeed.

“We’re going to tear it up,” Campbell said. “We’re going to be seeing our main competition at the Great Lakes challenge along with some other teams that we hope to do well against and I think that at the meet we’ll pick up really well against them.”

The men’s team also finished in the upper half, placing 6th out of 15 teams. This is the second year in a row they finished 6th at the meet.

The top 7 finishers were senior Treven Carter (27:24.3), sophomore Jannik Windelband (27:26.0), freshman Josh Gosselin (27:29.3), sophomore Elijah James (27:36.4), senior Logan Gonzales (27:41.6), sophomore Ramiro Ulunque (27:53.1), freshman Gabe Ebersole (27:55.5), and sophomore John Dyar (28:01.5).

“It is incredibly in what shape our team is this year,” Windelband said. “We are a lot stronger than last year. PRs at Schenley is always something special. The course is arguably the hardest course of our season. To see a lot of my teammates PR here, even though it is so hard of a course makes me really proud and happy.”

Windelband has finished within the top 2 in all three meets, including a first-place finish for the team at the Lock Haven Invitational. Windelband was happy to see the team perform at a high level in their home meet.

Racing at Schenley is the only competition we have in Pittsburgh all year round, including Track,” Windelband said. “Having our family and friends at the course and having them cheer for us is very special. On top of that, we know the course better than anyone. We train on it all the time. Overall it is just an incredible race for all of us.”

Windelband is excited to see what the future holds with how the team performed. Similar to the women’s team, the top 7 included a lot of underclassmen.

He and the team look forward to competing at the Great Lakes Challenge in Grand Rapids, Michigan as they prepare to face some River States Conference opponents.

“You can expect a lot,” Windelband said. “I know that we will see a bunch of PRs in 2 weeks at a very flat and fast course. Furthermore, we are going to rock conferences, we are so strong that I don’t see a single reason why we shouldn’t win conferences with our team. We are going to nationals this year. You’ll see!”