ON CAMPUS: Dukes' Woodrow just misses out on A-10 accolade
• EDITOR’S NOTE: On Campus features graduates of area high schools who are playing college sports. This is the first of a weekly installment that will appear every Friday in The Indiana Gazette throughout the school year. If you know of anyone who should be featured or included, email Mirza Zukic at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (724) 465-5555, ext. 267.
Alex Woodrow is peaking at the most opportune time, even if he did miss out on a selection to the all-conference team by a mere 1.2 seconds.
A junior at Duquesne University, Woodrow ran a season-best time at last weekend’s Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championships to earn a top-20 finish, but he fell short of earning all-conference status by one place and a blink of an eye.
Woodrow raced to a 16th-place finish in the 117-runner field at Saturday’s conference championship meet with a time of 24:30.0, finishing the 8K course just behind teammate Bob Gasior (15th, 24:28.8). The top 15 finishers earn all-conference honors.
Woodrow improved by eight places on his result from last year’s A-10 championships, when he took 24th as a sophomore.
Woodrow’s and Gasior’s efforts led the Dukes to a fifth-place team finish out of 13 teams at the A-10 Championships, and both advanced to next week’s Mid-Atlantic Regional, the last step before the NCAA Championships.
A Marion Center graduate, Woodrow has shaved off nearly two minutes of his time since the beginning of the season, and with the most important meets of the year coming up this month, he’s picked the right time to run his best races.
Two weeks before the A-10 Championships, on Oct. 19, Woodrow posted a time of 25:21 to take 113th out of 272 runners at the Princeton Invitational, at which the Dukes took 12th out of 30 teams.
Woodrow opened the season with a fourth-place finish in 26:20.7 at the Duquesne Duals in late August. He improved on that time by more than 45 seconds at the highly competitive Paul Short Invitational on Oct. 5, running a 25:33 for a 121st-place finish in the 397-runner field.
Since then, he’s taken another minute off his time.
Woodrow also posted a top-10 finish at Richmond’s Spider Open in early September, finishing the 5K course eighth out of 63 runners (15:19.4), as the Dukes took first in the five-team event.
Woodrow will compete in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional, hosted by Lehigh, on Nov. 15.
ANGEL PICCIRILLO (Villanova, cross country): After being forced to miss what would have been her freshman collegiate season in the fall of 2012 with a foot injury, Piccirillo fully expected to be in the mix this fall.
Instead, she only ran in three meets before an injury sidelined her again.
But Piccirillo didn’t disappoint when she got on the course.
At the prestigious Paul Short Invitational in early October, Piccirillo posted a season-best and career-best time of 20:58.0 in a 6K race to claim 20th place out of 406 runners while helping Villanova to a third-place finish among 48 teams.
Before that, in her first meet of the season — the low-key Haverford College Invitational — Piccirillo posted a time of 16:49.22 in three-mile race.
At her last competition, the Pre-NCAA Meet on Oct. 19, apparently bothered by the injury that eventually sidelined her, Piccirillo posted a time of 21:57.11 to finish 181st in a huge meet that featured 340 runners and 49 teams.
DARRYL JONES (Robert Morris, cross country): One of three Indiana County cross country runners competing at the Division I level, Jones is a junior for the Colonials.
A Blairsville graduate, Jones posted his best time of the season at the Furman Invitational in Greenville, S.C., on Sept. 14, when he completed the 8-kilometer course in 27:29.13.
Jones’ top finishes of the season in terms of placement came a week apart. He took 38th out of 54 runners (30:56.18) at the Slippery Rock Invitational on Oct. 12, and then, he placed 46th in 29:14 in a field of 65 runners a week later at the Penn State Invitational on Oct. 18.
Jones also took 68th out of 94 runners (30:56) at St. Francis’ Father Bede Invitational on Sept. 28. The Colonials took second place in the nine-team field.
Robert Morris took second place at last weekend’s Northeast Conference Championships. Jones didn’t qualify for the conference meet.
TOM SUPINKA (Dickinson College, golf): A sophomore from Indiana, Supinka is in his second season on the Red Devils’ golf team.
He competed in one of the four tournaments the Red Devils took part in during the fall season. Supinka posted rounds of 87 and 90 for a two-day total of 33-over 177 and finished in a tie for 66th place at the Mason-Dixon Collegiate Classic hosted by McDaniel College on Oct. 5 and 6.
The Red Devils have wrapped up the fall season and will tee off their spring season in March.
ALEX ATKINS (Brown, football): One of three Division I players to come from the Heritage Conference last season, Atkins is a freshman linebacker for the Brown Bears who hasn’t gotten on the field yet.
A Northern Cambria graduate, Atkins stands at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds. He was named the lineman of the year on the 2012 All-Gazette Football Team.
RYAN STEWART (Grove City, football): For the second straight season, an Indiana High product is kicking for the Grove City football team.
A freshman, Stewart edged out two other freshmen in camp and has taken over the kicking duties this season. He’s taken every kick for the Wolverines with the exception of two extra-point attempts. He’s made 2 of 3 field goal attempts, and he’s 16 of 18 on extra-point tries.
Both of Stewart’s field goals were from 27 yards, and his other attempt was a 41-yard try that was blocked in the season opener.
At Indiana, Stewart played soccer and he took up the kicking duties for the Indiana High football team as a senior, his first year of kicking.
Last season, another Indiana graduate, Dane Mossgrove, shared the kicking duties with senior Kurt Devlin. Mossgrove converted 7 of 12 extra-point kicks and did not attempt a field goal, but he did not return to the team this season.
Grove City enters this weekend’s game at 3-5, 1-5 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.
SCOTT McKIRGAN (Hartford, soccer): A freshman goalkeeper for the Division I Hawks, McKirgan was beaten out by another freshman for the starting job in goal and hasn’t seen any action yet during his first collegiate season.
An Indiana graduate, McKirgan totaled 22 shutouts over his final two seasons of high school soccer in 2011 and 2012, and he holds the single-season record for shutouts at Indiana with 12, set in 2011.
Hartford ended the regular season with a 12-3-3 record and on a four-game winning streak after Wednesday’s 5-2 win over UMass-Lowell in the regular-season finale.
Hartford is enjoying its first winning season since 2009 and its first 10-win season since 2003.
McKirgan is one of two area athletes at the Division I school based in West Hartford, Conn. Homer-Center graduate Katelyn Skinner is on the women’s basketball team at Hartford.
SARAH BONELLI (Lock Haven, soccer): An Apollo-Ridge graduate, Bonelli recently completed her freshman season for the Bald Eagles.
A freshman midfielder, Bonelli appeared in nine of Lock Haven’s 18 games. Despite mustering just two shots on goal during the season, Bonelli notched her first career collegiate goal, and it was the game-winner in the Bald Eagles’ 3-1 win over Molloy (N.Y.) on Oct. 8.
After bringing the ball down the left side, Bonelli ripped a shot from about 25 yards out that found the upper corner of the far-post side of the goal and broke a 1-1 tie.
It was one of the few bright spots for the Lock Haven women. They went 4-12-2 and finished only ahead of lowly Pitt-Johnstown (1-16) in the 17-team PSAC.