The Shippensburg University men’s cross country team had eight of its runners within the Top 14 finishers Friday night to reclaim the “owl” at the Galen Piper Cross Country Challenge held under the lights at the campus rec fields.
Despite a warm night, the speed was evident throughout the field over the course of the 6K race. Each of the meet’s Top 6 finishers cracked the course’s all-time Top 25 times list, and a total of 27 runners completed the race in 20 minutes or less.
Shippensburg finished 3-5-6-7-8 to score an excellent 24 points, a 38-point margin over Messiah and Dickinson. It is the second straight year that the men claimed the race title after a six-year drought.
Senior Aiden Gonder (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Red Land) was flying around the circuit over his final 1,000 meters and finished with a time of 19:16.8 that resulted in third place. Gonder’s time ties for 16th all-time on the course and marks the second time in his career that he has served as the team’s No. 1 runner (his previous turn as SU’s No. 1 runner was at Mansfield’s Ed Winrow Invitational last October).
Graduate Hayden Hunt (Shippensburg, Pa./Shippensburg Area) and sophomore Ryan Wolfe (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest) finished within two-tenths of a second each other, completing the course in 19:20 to finish fifth and sixth respectively and also crack the course’s all-time Top 25 list.
The pack mentality was further exemplified by senior Ian Sherlock (Hopewell, Pa./Northern Bedford County) and sophomore Garrett Quinan (Stewartstown, Pa./Kennard-Dale) finishing within two-tenths of a second, completing the course in 19:25 for seventh and eighth place respectively.
Graduates Kevin Wagner (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) and Nathan Harding (Mohnton, Pa./Governor Mifflin) impressed as well; Wagner taking 11th place in 19:31 and Harding one place behind in 19:33. Freshman Brennan Wellock (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West), in his first season of cross country after competing in track & field last season, delivered a noteworthy debut with a 14th-place finish in 19:35, just two seconds behind Harding.
“We packed up well, rolled as a group, and that was the goal,” Gonder said. “Spence wanted us to stay together, work as a team, and push it that last lap.”
Shippensburg returns to action in two weeks at Kutztown as it enhances its distance to 8K.
Shippensburg (1st, 24 points)
3. Aiden Gonder 19:16.8
5. Hayden Hunt 19:20.2
6. Ryan Wolfe 19:20.4
7. Ian Sherlock 19:25.2
8. Garrett Quinan 19:25.4
11. Kevin Wagner 19:31.3
12. Nathan Harding 19:33.0
14. Brennan Wellock 19:35.8
36. Jacob Lawson 20:18.2
79. Luke Hinegardner 21:36.9