Crimson Hawks gain confidence before championships

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At its last event before the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships, the Indiana University of Pennsylvania cross country team made a strong showing at the Carnegie Mellon Invitational Saturday in Pittsburgh’s Schenley Park.

The men’s team finished in fifth place out of 20 competitors, while the women’s squad came in seventh out of 21.

Andrew Morgan (IUP Athletics)
Andrew Morgan (IUP Athletics)

All of this meshes with head coach Joey Zins’s plan to have both squads firing on all cylinders once the postseason rolls around.

“[Qualifying for the NCAA Championships] is going to be a great challenge because we will have to unseat one of the traditional powers in our region if we are going to realize our ultimate team goal,” Zins said.

The Crimson Hawks men’s team finished behind the event champion and host, Carnegie Mellon University, and Division-I Duquesne University, but ahead of the only other PSAC program in the event, Seton Hill University, which came in seventh overall.

In the women’s event, the University of Pittsburgh took home the team victory, with Seton Hill coming in second.

Andrew Morgan (graduate student, criminology) paced the men’s team with a time of 26:44.1 on the 8K course, good for a 22nd-place finish, and only 44 seconds behind the individual race leader.

Tyler Vella (sophomore, nursing) trailed him in 34th place with a time of 26:59.4, while Ryan Louther (freshman, accounting) finished in 64th at 27:48.9 and Jabari Freeman (freshman, accounting) crossed the finish line in 78th at 28:05.6.

On the women’s side, the Crimson Hawks were led once again by Rachel Magliane (senior, dietetics), whose time of 19:47.1 put her in 38th place. Other top IUP finishers included Jenna Lezanic (junior, geography) in 45th place with a time of 20:01.9, Makena Felts (sophomore, nursing) in 56th at 20:15.6 and Becky Wilson (senior, nursing) in 63rd at 20:23.5.

In the most recent poll released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Oct. 6, the IUP men’s team maintained its position as the No. 3 team in the Atlantic Region.

The Crimson Hawks are ranked behind only traditional power and defending champion Lock Haven University and Shippensburg University, both PSAC schools. However, those rankings will be put to the test next week at the PSAC Championships in Slippery Rock, where IUP will have a chance to bring home its conference title since 1983.