XC National Championship preview

XC National Championship preview

Virginia Beach, VA -The Penn State Fayette men's cross country team is gearing up for the USCAA national championships, and according to head coach Joe Carei, the team knows what to expect.

"The first trip (to nationals) was exciting and we had to learn about nationals as well as what it was all about," he said of his team which is there for the third time. "Now we spend more time on how to race the course and on strategy."

Carei said there are two goals.

"As a team, we are shooting to be a top-five team and we want at least one All-American," he said. "There will be a team national champion and an individual.

"The top-14 (individual) finishers are All-Americans."

The first year the team went, it finished 13th and a year ago, the team improved to eighth.

"We are running about 90 seconds per runner faster than last year," he said. "Our young freshmen are complimenting our veteran core."

The freshmen Carei spoke of are Drew Erdman (Greensburg, PA/Greensburg Salem HS), Mitchell Minda (Elizabeth, PA/Elizabeth Forward HS) and Stephen Lacek (Fort Cherry, PA/Fort Cherry HS).

The experienced nucleus Carei spoke about includes Michael Elliot (Clarksville, PA/Beth-Center HS), Devin Pisarski (Connellsville, PA/Connellsville HS), Aaron Mylan (Rices Landing, PA/Jefferson-Morgan HS) and PSUAC champion Nyoah Marteny (Perryopolis, PA/Frazier).

How big would finishing in the top-five be to Carei?

"Although last year was exciting with me winning the National Coach of the Year, it would be overshadowed by a top-five finish this year," he said.

The race is Friday, November 9, at 10:30 a.m. at Virginia Beach, VA.

For more information on the team, go to https://www.psfathletics.com/sports/xc/index.

Written by Bill Hughes