PREVIEW: Men’s Cross Country Prepares for PSAC Championships

Men’s Cross Country
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KUTZTOWN | The Kutztown University men’s cross country team is looking for another strong finish at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championships this Saturday, Oct. 21, at California University (PA) at 11 a.m.

Last year, the Golden Bear squad finished with a fifth-place finish out of 16 teams in the field, the program’s best since 2002.

Sophomore Nick DeGennaro (Cedar Grove, N.J./Cedar Grove) is the top returning finisher from the 2016 Championships, finishing 42nd out of 134 overall runners with a time of 27:29.1. He qualified as the 10th-best freshman in the field.

KU heads into the weekend’s competition coming off a seventh-place finish at the Bulldog Invitational at DeSales University on Oct. 7.

Freshman Andrew Sulon (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg Area) led the way for the first meet this season, crossing the finish line in 22nd place out of 268 overall runners with a time of 27:06.1. It was the 

fourth consecutive meet to open up the season that a freshman finished as the top overall runner for KU, as Derek Barney (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills) paced the Kutztown lineup for the first three meets.

The KU lineup will consist of some new faces, with DeGennaro being the only returning participant from last year’s PSAC championship meet.

Along with DeGennaro, Sulon and Barney, Chris Coates (West Chester, Pa./Bayard Rustin) and AJ Kilpatrick (West Deptford, N.J./West Deptford) have run in all four meets this season. Nate Burkhart (Lancaster, Pa./Conestoga Valley)Xavier Gutierrez(Lancaster, Pa./J.P. McCaskey) and Jared Luckanitz (Shillington, Pa./Governor Mifflin) all competed in three of the four meets and will be competing in the championships.

Head coach Ray Hoffman will use a 10-player roster consisting of Barney, Kilpatrick, DeGennaro, Coates, Gutierrez, Derek Domsicz (Mohnton, Pa./Governor Mifflin)Teagan Fortna (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West), Sulon, Luckanitz and Burkhart.

“The biggest thing we want to take away from PSAC’s is to get some of these younger guys to take a step up,” said Hoffman. “With redshirting a couple of guys this year, we’re a young team. We have some new seniors running and a couple of newer juniors going that might not be as seasoned. We want to get the experience for them and see who is going to step up. It’s been a good season so far, and it looks like things are going in the right direction. I feel like everything I’ve seen over the last few weeks points to us doing something special this weekend.”

Shippensburg University earned the team championship with 47 points while Lock Haven University claimed second with 54 and Edinboro University finished third with 63 points.

KU was voted seventh in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Atlantic Region Poll, released last week. The next poll is set to be released next Tuesday, Oct. 24.

Two weeks after the PSAC Championships, KU will compete in the NCAA Atlantic Regionals at Lock Haven University on Saturday, Nov. 4.

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