Schriever leads Pitt cross country to clean sweep in Akron


Christopher Mitchell / Sport Sho

Sophmore Gillian Schriever racing towards the finish line last season at the University of Minnesota. (Courtesy of Pitt Athletics)

By Steve Rotstein / Sports Editor

The Pitt men’s and women’s cross country teams built off a strong showing at the Duquesne Duals last week to sweep the Tommy Evans Invitational in Akron, Ohio, Friday night.

The men’s team placed third in the season opener while the women placed second, but the women’s team got back star sophomore Gillian Schriever for the first-ever women’s 5K race at Silver Creek Metro Park.

In her first race of the 2016 season after leading the Panthers with a 30th-place finish at the 2015 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, Schriever raced to the first individual win of her college career with a time of 17:53.3 –– less than one second shy of her personal best.

Since it was the first race held at the new track, Schriever is now the track record holder in the women’s 5K.

“It was Gillian’s first race of the year so she’s picking up where she left off last track season, which is a good thing,” women’s coach Adam Bray said in a press release. “It’s always a good thing to win. She’s super talented and she showed it on the course today.”

But it wasn’t just Schriever -– the entire women’s team dominated this event. Pitt juniors Melanie Vlasic, Ellen Crook, Kelly Hayes and Ariel Pastore-Sebring rounded out the top 5 in the women’s 5K, giving the Panthers a clean sweep.

The men’s team also posted its first win of the season, led by junior Aaron Lauer’s runner-up finish in the men’s four-mile race. Lauer finished with a time of 20:06:72, while redshirt senior Michael Runco and first-year runner Nick Wolk were right behind him in third and fourth place.

“We’re getting closer to putting a full squad out there and I was very pleased with how they competed,” men’s coach Bryan Jackson said in the release. “They came out here and competed hard. We got the win and walked away with some stuff that we still need to work on.”

The women’s team will next compete at the St. Vincent Invitational in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, Sept. 17. The men will get the weekend off before both teams take part in the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Saturday, Sept. 24.