Shepherd brings back cross country as a team sport
The host, Indiana RedHawks, won the men’s division, with second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh individual finishes and 22 team points. Seton Hill (Pa.) was second with 37 points, and had the race’s winner in Benton Bickerton, who fashioned a 16:03.1 winning time.
Shepherd lists four members of its men’s team — Hunter Reed (Musselman High and Fairmont State), Daniel Burton (Hedgesville High and Potomac State), Michael Gregg (Hedgesville High) and Stephen Rivera (home schooled), but only Reed and Burton competed in the season-opening meet. Reed was 21st overall, with his time of 18:23.1 and Burton was 23rd with a time of 18:24.4.
The women’s division winner of the Welcome Back Invite held at Blue Spruce Park in Indiana was Seton Hill (Pa.). The Griffins posted a team score of 28 points, edging the host RedHawks, who had 30 points. The race winner was Seton Hill’s Sydney Wolf, with a time of 19:03.2. Alderson-Broaddus was third, with 76 points.
Shepherd lists five members on its women’s team, but only three of them competed last Sunday. Nicole Smith (Musselman) was 17th overall in 23:28.2, Mahayana Garcia (Jefferson) was 23rd, with a time of 26:17.3, and Elizabeth Rea (Liberty High in Maryland) was 25th in 30:11.8. The other two team members are Anna Berwanger (Hedgesville) and Amelia Jenkins (Martinsburg High and Fairmont State).
Along with cross country, Shepherd has also added women’s golf to its overall athletics program this year. The Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference has a list of schools with healthy athletic budgets and the league has members who also offer such sports as swimming and diving, field hockey, rugby, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, gymnastics, men’s and women’s wrestling and acrobatics and tumbling, which Shepherd doesn’t have. West Chester (Pa.), with its over 17,000 students, has a total of 14 women’s sports, in comparison with Shepherd’s nine: cheerleading, lacrosse, volleyball, softball, basketball, soccer, tennis, cross country and golf.
The newly returned Shepherd cross country teams are both coached by Chuck Walters. Walters is attempting to build his teams, while recruiting against other colleges as well as the pandemic.
His upbeat outlook for the newly minted Rams is optimistic.
“With this being the first year that Shepherd has had cross country in almost 20 years, it’s a very exciting opportunity to see everyone come together and begin building a great culture here within the program,” Walters said. “The team has been working for quite some time for the opportunity to finally get out there and race.
“I want to thank Dr. Hendrix and Chauncey Winbush for working with the PSAC, to ensure we had a season,” Walters said, referring to SU President Mary J.C. Hendrix and Shepherd’s vice president for athletics. “I look forward to seeing how the team improves throughout the season, and we’ll certainly look to add some great additions and to continue to grow as a team in and out of the classroom.”
The Rams have two more meets scheduled this season.