|Cross Country Ready for Challenge||10/2/2012|
CRESSON—Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference cross country teams previewed this year’s championship course on Sunday, as AMCC runners ran the Mount Aloysius College 2012 Invitational. The cross country invitational was a featured event of the fun-packed Mount Aloysius College’s Homecoming 2012.
Mount Aloysius College will host the AMCC Cross Country Championships on Saturday, October 27, at the Ebensburg Country Club, the same location as last Sunday’s Mount Aloysius Invitational meet. The late October championship meet will mark the first time The Mounties will host the AMCC Cross Country Championship.
The Mount Aloysius cross country coach Marilyn Gregory said that Sunday preview opportunity could prove tremendously valuable. “Sunday’s run allowed all the runners and coaches a strategic look at the championship course.
“It offered everyone a chance to work out a plan of attack,” Gregory said. “We all spotted the course’s challenges, got feedback from our runners and are ready to maximize the competition come race day.”
The race—6 kilometers for the women and 8 kilometers for the men—may be the toughest course the runners will face all year.
“It’s the hills,” Gregory said. “It is one of the more challenging courses, because there are numerous hills.”
Mount Aloysius senior runner David Tran agrees.
“It is a well-designed course. That back stretch is rough. But the hills even out the course. There are a lot of good distance runners, but if you can’t run hills, it is going to bring your time down,” Tran said.
The Penn State-Behrend men won Sunday’s invitational, but Mountie Coach Gregory sees lots of promise in her team’s performance.
“Our top two male runners are freshman, and they both finished in the top twenty on Sunday. That’s really encouraging,” Gregory said.
Bryson Long, of Lititz, Pa., was the Mounties’ top runner. He finished in 12th place, marking a time of 30:29.6, a short minute off the pace set by race winner Denny Lydon of Penn State-Behrend. Fellow Mounties freshman Nick Frank, a Penn Cambria grad, was not far behind. He came in 17th with a time of 32:12.6.
Long acknowledges the advantage of running the challenging course ahead of time, and knows what he needs to do on his next outing there.
“This time, I went out too fast, I think,” he said. “The first two miles, there are so many hills that you have to pace yourself. Next time, I am going to go out slower, and let it go all out in the back end.”
On the women’s side, Penn State-Behrend also picked up a win, but Lady Mounties Rosalie Sossong and Kelsey Molnar each had strong showings, finishing in 28:19.5 and 28.26.1, respectively on the six kilometer women’s course.
Molnar, a freshman, is a Forest Hills alum. Sossong is a senior, and graduate of Bishop Carroll.
“(Sossong) is working back from an injury and really looking great. She’s our top runner,” Gregory said.
Sossong, the consistent top finisher in each of the Lady Mounties meets this season, agrees that the course brings out the competitive best in runners. She really likes the challenge of the hilly course.
“The second loop, going around the biggest hill, really pushes you,” Sossong said. “But it’s great. The course is so beautiful, that it really makes the race fly by.”
The men’s race for the October 27th AMCC Championship will start at 11:00 a.m., with the women to follow at 12:15 p.m.
The Ebensburg Country Club is located on Manor Drive, just 1.2 miles from Old Route 22 and Rowena Drive, Ebensburg.