For the second consecutive meet, the Pittsburg State womens cross country team came away with a team title.

For the second consecutive meet, the Pittsburg State womens cross country team came away with a team title.

Thanks to the efforts of seniors Brittney Graff, Jennifer Butler and Caitlin Laskowski — who finished 1-2-3 respectively, the Gorillas claimed the team title at the SIU-Edwardsville Invitational on Friday.

Graff took home the individual title in a time of 22 minutes, 24.69 seconds. Butler (22:32.71) and Laskowski (22:39.64) were close behind.

Pitt State scored 25 points in the five-team field, 12 points better than second-place Missouri Southern.

Sophomore Kaley Temaat added an eigth-place finish in 23:26.47, while freshman Casey Epps placed 11th overall in 23:45.85.

“Our team did a pretty good job today,” PSU head coach Russ Jewett said. “We were aggressive early in the race. Brittney caught the leader at the mile mark. She took the lead and never looked back. Jennifer and Caitlin came with her and had solid races with our first three runners just having 15 seconds separating them.”

And, the Gorillas did it without the services of top runner Melissa Peden, who was out resting for the MIAA Championships on Nov. 6 at Hays.

“We beat Missouri Southern which was encouraging. They didn’t have their top runner, but we held out our top runner, too,” Jewitt said. “They competed last week where we didn’t, but this will be good momentum heading to the conference championships.”

Haffner claims top spot
Pitt State junior Matt Haffner took the individual title as the Gorillas finished second at Edwardsville.

Haffner won the race in a time of 25:51.0. Sophomore Tyler Anliker finished ninth overall (27:03.9), while redshirt freshman Brennan Hampton placed 11th (27:08.6), freshman Isbek Salinas placed 14th (27:13.8) and junior Brad Jochems finished 17th (27:20.2).

Pitt State posted a 48-point team score, tying with the host, SIU-Edwardsville, for second place among the four-team field. St. Joseph’s (Ind.) won the meet with 44 points.

“Matt Haffner had a great race and so did Tyler Anliker,” Jewett said. “I was proud of how they competed today, and Isbek Salinas had a good showing. For the good performances there still were disappointments, too. We had some guys fold in the middle of the race. We didn’t put it all together. We still have a ways to go. We’ll need to sharpen our attitudes if we are going to be a championship caliber team in two weeks.”