Youngwood, Pa – Penn State Greater Allegheny Cross Country opened up its season on Saturday when they traveled to the Westmoreland County Community College Invitational. It was the first race of the year for Cross County in 2017/2018.
Sophomore Fernando Leira (Madrid, Spain/Great Mills (Md.)) lead the pack by finishing 22nd overall with a time of 20:15 to pace the GA men in the 5.1 kilometer race. Leira is in his second season with the team after getting a chance to work under two upper-classmen who last season had great years in their own right
Those two upper classman are Juniors Ellis Massiah (Waterford, Ct./Waterford) and Michael Risnear (Harrison City, Pa./Penn Trafford). Together, they look to help Penn State Greater Allegheny contend for a Penn State University Athletic Confernece title in 2017/18.
Massiah and Risnear helped make history for the Penn State Greater Allegheny Cross Country team coming in 11th place overall in the 2015/16 season at the USCAA National Championship. In that event, Massiah finished 32nd overall behind overall men’s champion, and former Lion Michael Burchlaw. Leira is trying to make some history of his own this year with the PSUGA Cross Country team looking to lead them to a PSUAC title.
Head Coach Mark Bacco is back for his seventh season as the head coach of the Cross Country team and was the founder of the program when it started back in 2011. He was named the 2015 PSUAC coach of the year and during his tenure at Penn State Greater Allegheny he has coached a Men’s Individual Champion, a Men’s Individual Runner up, a Woman’s Individual Champion, and a Women’s Individual Runner-up.
The Men continue their season on Saturday September 16th when they take part in the Penn State Greater Allegheny Invitational on the campus of Penn State Greater Allegheny. The race starts at 10 a.m.