As the Atlantic region’s #4 ranked men’s cross country team, the Shippensburg University men’s cross country team heads to Kutztown on Friday for the 2021 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championships.
The 8K race begins at 11 a.m.
Shippensburg is expected to battle with the likes of #29 Edinboro, the #2-ranked team in the Atlantic Region, and Slippery Rock, the #5-ranked team in the region. The Raiders are currently ranked fourth in the Atlantic Region.
READ: Paul Short Run: Hayden Hunt gave solid showing
SU was second last season
SU finished second to Edinboro at the 2020 PSAC Championships held in March of this year. It returns its Top 9 finishers from that team. Head Coach Steve Spence has stated that the team’s goal is to have athletes running at the front of the pack and to have five men among the Top 15 runners.
The Raiders boast a lineup that includes six returning All-PSAC performers. Junior Chayce Macknair (Lewistown, Pa./Mifflin County) is a two-time All-PSAC First Team runner who placed 11th in 2019 and fifth in March. Sophomore Hayden Hunt (Shippensburg, Pa./Shippensburg Area) is a two-time PSAC Athlete of the Week this fall who has functioned as the team’s No. 1 runner in every race so far this season. He earned First Team honors in March with a 12th-place finish.
Junior Drew Dailey (Phoenix, Md./Dulaney), the 2021 PSAC Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Rookie of the Year, placed ninth in March. Sophomore Ian Sherlock (Hopewell, Pa./Northern Bedford County) ran 13th and sophomore Aiden Gonder (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Red Land) finished 26th. Senior Nate Kaplon (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) is a two-time All-PSAC finisher (2018 First Team, 2019 Second Team).
Other runners who have scored in races this season include freshman Jacob Mavretic (Millersburg, Pa./Millersburg), junior Kevin Wagner (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) and junior Alexander Ermold (Shillington, Pa./Governor Mifflin).
Prepping for the championships
Shippensburg heads into the conference championships with a somewhat unusual lead-in, as it has not competed in a meet since the Paul Short Run back on October 1. The Raiders have held workouts of varying mileage in the three weeks leading up to the championships.
“We took a couple of days to recover from the Paul Short Race and then the men ran their highest mileage week of the season,” Spence said. “The following week consisted of a long run, a long interval session, and a threshold workout. “We will taper this week.”