McKeesport, PA. – After a year of being out of competition, the Penn State Greater Allegheny Cross Country team is returning for the 2019-2020 athletic year. They released their season schedule on Friday featuring four main meets before heading to the Penn State University Athletic Conference championships on October 26th.
Head Coach Greg Schmitt, who was hired in January of 2019, worked hard all summer to ensure that Cross Country would return to PSUGA this season. He recruited transfer student Max Shugerman (Turtle Creek, PA./Woodland Hills HS), and brought on junior Eladia Kennedy (McKeesport, PA./Imani Christian Academy) and sophomore James Plez (Philadelphia, PA./Northeast HS) to round out the group of runners.
Schmitt is a former professional runner, whose passion and determination for the sport helped a first-year PSUGA Track & Field program send nine athletes to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships a year ago. He is looking to bring that same success to the Cross-Country team as they compete for the first time since the 2017 season.
In that year, former PSUGA athlete Fernando Leira finished 7th overall at the PSUAC Championships earning First-Team All-PSUAC honors. He went on to set a new personal best at the USCAA National Championships running the 8K race in 30:13 and finishing 56th overall in the field of 166 runners.
In 2019, PSUGA will compete in four different invitationals throughout August, September, and October all leading up to the PSUAC Championships on October 26th. They open the 2019 season on August 30th at the Father Bede Cross-Country Invitational at Saint Francis University. Then, they will travel to Westmoreland County CC, PSU-Mont Alto, and Carnegie Mellon University before the big race.
In the program’s history, PSUGA has had two PSUAC Individual Championships and four PSUAC top four finishes. Their lone PSUAC Championship came in the 2015 season when they captured the team title with an overall point total of 29. Schmitt and his team will look to get back on the map in the PSUAC and compete towards another PSUAC Championship.
The Father Bede CC Invitational kicks off on August 30th at 2 p.m. at Saint Francis University. To view the entire PSUGA cross country schedule, go to www.athleticsga.com/sports/xc/2019-20/schedule.