Seton Hill cross country preparing to defend WVIAC titles

| Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Seton Hill, the reigning West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion in men's and women's cross country, is gearing up to protect its titles Saturday. With both teams ranked No. 6 in the region, the Griffins are preparing to win on home soil.

Seton Hill will host the WVIAC championships at the Greensburg campus..

“We are just trying to focus on the task at hand and the goal from the beginning of the season,” Seton Hill coach Tim Creamer said. “Way back in August when we started camp, (our goal) was to be repeat conference champs because both teams had won it last year. That was our goal right off the bat.”

Last year, the men scored 44 points to beat Wheeling Jesuit by one, and the women's 55 points were three points better than Wheeling Jesuit at Concord University's Pipestem State Park. West Virginia Weslyan will also be a top contender this year for team titles, Creamer said.

Individually for Seton Hill, seniors John Bogart and Justin Weaver will have a chance for titles but will have to battle Concord University senior Robbie Peterson and West Virginia Wesleyan senior Skyler McCoy.

Last year, Bogart placed sixth with a time of 26 minutes, 45 seconds, and Weaver was seventh (27:29). The Griffins' Dave Laugherty is hoping to be the top freshman finisher after being named the WVIAC runner of the week several times this year.

Wheeling Jesuit senior Megan Truelove, Seton Hill's Jeannie Bujdos (Indiana), a sophomore and Meagan Carter (Shaler), a freshman, are contenders to win the women's individual title. Several Greensburg-area runners compete for the girls team, including sophomore Athina Lutz (Greensburg Salem), sophomore Creanna Martin (Hempfield) and redshirt freshman Amber Cook (Greensburg Salem).

“We could take home a lot of hardware or nothing depending on how well we compete (this) weekend,” Creamer said.

The women's 6K race will start at 10 a.m. followed by the men's 8K at 11 a.m. This will be the first championship hosted by Seton Hill as a WVIAC member. The school last hosted a championship meet in 2004 as an NAIA team in the American Mideast Conference.

“We're hoping that it's a really exciting time for our student-athletes, being that it is at home and our track team members, their friends, their parents, everyone will get to watch them run on their home course,” Creamer said. “To be able to hopefully keep the West Virginia championship in Pennsylvania will be something our kids are going after. We are expecting a couple exciting races on Saturday.”

Brittany Goncar is a freelance writer.

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