Women’s cross country places fifth at Penn State Invitational

Johnny Wozniak, Reporter

On Saturday, the Buffalo State men and women’s cross country teams traveled to Erie, Pa. for the Penn State Invitational. As both teams continue to prepare for SUNYAC play on October 31, each managed a respectable finish, as the men finished 8th out of 15 and the woman finished 5th out of 17.

On a day with near-perfect conditions, the men were paced by senior leader, Austin Becker. Becker managed a strong showing with a finishing time of 28:53.5, which led all Buffalo State runners on the day.

“Compared to last week, I definitely ran well,” Becker said.

With Becker being one of the more experienced runners on the team, his effort was much appreciated by head coach Ray Shadowen.

“Austin’s great,” Shadowen said. “I was impressed with his results, but more impressed with his leadership. For him to go out there, and do what he did, it was great.”

Following Becker was Mitch Rabold, who finished 41st overall (30:06.9). Rounding out the day for the Bengals’ effort was Phil Guiga in 47th (31:04.8) and Greg Avila-Shah in 52nd (32:12.9).

Up next for the men’s team, Buffalo State will head to Rochester to compete in the Roberts Wesleyan Invitational. With SUNYAC competition only a little over a month away, that’s where the focus of the team is on.  

“With how we’ve been training, we expect to improve from last year. We think we can knock out some big dogs” Becker said.

Just like the men’s team, the women’s team continued their improvement with a fifth place finish. The team was led by junior runner Sharae Smith, who finished 16th (20:55).

Coach Shadowens was happy with the way the ladies ran, even though some of them were a little hard on themselves after the race.

“I think they took the times more personal than the guys,” Shadowens said. “You know they’ve ran this course before, and it’s been faster. Essentially, even with the girls who won the race, no one ran a fast time.”

The women’s team will be taking that solid fifth place finish with them to Rochester, as well, on September 26, when they will be running in the Roberts Wesleyan Invitational.

Moving forward, Coach Shadowens knows the training will get harder, but he’s determined to be ready by the time SUNYAC competition comes around next month.

“We’re kicking it into the gear,” Shadowens said. “My assistants and I will find that top 7 to see who will run for us at conference. We’re going to be all over the board, but our championship season is coming, and I know the results are coming, but I just have to be patient.”