Cross Country Teams Ready for PAC Championship
On October 27, 2018, the men’s and women’s cross country teams will face off against their conference rivals in the President’s Athletic Conference (PAC) Championship race. The women’s 6,000-meter race begins at 11 a.m. and the men’s 8,000-meter race begins at 12 p.m.
“Our team goals this year are the same as they've always been,” said Head Coach Brian Yowler. “We race to win. After the dust settles, if we don't win, our goal for both teams is to be among the top three. That's a standard that we set for ourselves every year.”
In cross country, the PAC Championship is unlike any other sport. It is determined by a single race, where every team participates. Nothing that anyone has done up to that point matters. There are no team standings, no seeding, and no playoff brackets. It’s one race for the title.
Over the last two seasons, the men’s and women's teams have each finished fourth and fifth, falling a bit short. However, Yowler said both teams have shown that they are among the best in Geneva history this year. “We are looking for historical PAC finishes,” he said. “On an individual level, Josh Duffie, Andrew Domencic, and Josiah Mansell are returning All-PAC runners looking to improve on last year's places. Specifically, Josh and Andrew look to become four-time All-PAC runners.” Last season, Clay Smith became the first cross country runner in Geneva history to accomplish that feat.
“On the women's side, Jennifer Simmons is the only returning All-PAC runner from last year,” said Yowler. “In fact, three of our top five runners are freshmen, so it will be interesting to see how they respond in their first championship meet. However, based on our training and competition this season, they are well prepared to perform at a high level.”
So far this season, the teams have participated in five different races, including at Westminster, Bethany, Waynesburg, Paul Short, and Oberlin. The team’s best performance, however, came just over a week ago at Oberlin, where nearly all the men and women ran season-best times.
The women’s team is led by freshman Jessie Taylor, while the men’s is led by Duffie, both of whom have been having phenomenal seasons. Duffie has had a stand-out year, placing third in every race this season and running sub-26 minutes twice. “This is a moment we’ve been working toward all year,” said Duffie, “and it is where we need to leave it all out there. We’re all on the same page as a team, and we’ve been giving it all we have each race. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing for us to do on Saturday.”
Assistant Cross Country Coach Phil Thompson is also very excited for the PAC meet. “Both teams have been working extremely hard this season,” he said. “They have been training since the summer for this one meet, and I can’t wait to see what that hard work will accomplish. I am very proud of what these two teams have done so far this season. They have put in a ton of miles and completed insanely hard workouts. It’s going to be a fun day, and Geneva is going to surprise the rest of the PAC.”