The Penn State DuBois cross country team opens strong in the first conference race of the season. After some grueling competition at the Division II Doug Watts Invitational, the runners were tempered and ready to excel against their conference counterparts.
Juliann Boddorf and Tamera Anthony return to the Lady Lions for their second season with the program. Boddorf continued her strides in the conference from last year by immediately establishing her rank as the top runner in the PSUAC. Anthony, who was a vital supporting role last year has shown great improvement as she claimed the 12th rank spot in the PSUAC, with momentum to qualify for the All-Conference Team this year.
Newcomers to the women's team this year include Carley Boice (Karns City, PA) and Stephanie Graham (DuBois, PA). Boice was a reputable 800m runner for Karns City and shows no trouble in tackling the 6000m runs of collegiate cross country. She is currently seeded 15th in the conference. Graham, who Head Coach Kyle Gordon has coached in the past at the high school level, failed to disappoint. Graham stole the 5th place medal and quickly established herself as a tough contender in the conference.
"I couldn't ask for a better group of ladies this year. I couldn't wait to start working with Julie and Tam after last season. They both made great strides in their performances and it is great to see them continue that momentum. It is also great to have the newcomers, too. Carley has been impressing us all since her first practice and Steph could be one of the strongest high school runners I ever coached. It is privilege to be able to continue coaching her in college." Coach Gordon commented.
On the men's side, there is a great show of strength and potential. Penn State DuBois' standout wrestlers, Matthew Humes (Saegerstown, PA), Joe Knarr (Mifflin County, PA), and Ty Haines (New Bethlehem, PA) join the cross country team to train for their wrestling season.
Finishing out the men's team are Braden States (DuBois, PA) and Justin Heasely (New Bethlehem, PA). States comes to the team as a highly successful soccer player from the DuBois Area High School. Though the terrain is slightly different than the soccer field, States has shown that he has what it takes to compete in college cross country. Heasley is a veteran cross country runner from Redbank Valley High School, and like the others, is taking the program to new heights.
"All of these guys are great contributions to the team. You can't help but love their competitiveness and desire to get better, even if this isn't their primary sport. They're shaving minutes off of their time in each workout and are slowly climbing the ranks. I think all of them are ranked in the top 25, if not close." said Gordon.
The Penn State DuBois cross country teams will compete at the Brandywine Invitaional on Saturday.