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Southmoreland track teams put together typical successful seasons

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
kelly Vernon | The Independent-Observer
Southmoreland hurdlers Regis Kaufman (left) and Justin Livengood participate in a recent track meet earlier.

Southmoreland High School has a long tradition of success in track.

This year is no different as the Scotties once again have run, jumped and thrown their way to quality seasons.

The boys sport a 10-0 record, 7-0 in Section 4-AA, the girls check in with a 9-0 mark, 7-0 in the section.

“It's just our tradition that keeps rolling us year after year after year,” said Coach Bill Schrecengost. “We've now won the section (title) 15 out of the last 16 years. A lot of our kids are aware of that and they work hard in preparation to defend that. We're really blessed with good hard-working kids.”

That is something with which girls track coach Chuck Brittain would agree.

“Distance is always strong,” Brittain said. “We've managed to keep a strong distance tradition. Even though we don't have a lot of numbers. But we have good quality runners. The key to distance is the ability to work hard, the willingness to work hard. Usually, good distance is the key to your team.”

It's been a season in which the Scotties have shown quality throughout the lineup. If the runners may not be winning in a meet, those who throw may pick up their teammates and lead the team to a win.

“We had a tough meet with a team called Trinity (Christian),” Schrecengost recalled. “What bailed us out was our throwers and that was the reason we were able to win that meet. (Recently), we had an important meet with South Allegheny and our throwers don't throw well and our kids on the track came through.

“Often times, the school board will call me in and ask ‘Why the success,' and I always pin it down to my assistant coaches (who) do an excellent job in prepping our kids for whatever. We coach every kid. Maybe they're not big contributors as a freshman or a sophomore even, but by the time they're a junior or senior we've invested time and effort and they come through. Our success is based on all areas. If we were just a distance mecca, a hot spot for kids. I think we would struggle from year to year, but we coach them...It just all combines year after year into team championships.”

As the postseason approaches, the teams set their sights on trying to collect some hardware. The boys teams have come close to WPIAL titles with five second-place finishes and a few third-place finishes.

“That's always our goal to represent our school district very well in team championships,” Schrecengost said. “We pretty much got a reputation now of doing well. A lot of teams throughout the WPIAL know Southmoreland's going to do well and be well-prepared whenever we go there year after year. Just go as far in the playoffs as we can.”

Brittain said the most important time of the year is now. “This is just preparation for the postseason, in my opinion, for the playoffs and my personal favorite, individual qualifiers, WPIAL finals and hopefully states.” Brittain said.

The girls track coach said he's got some team members who have a shot at getting as far as Shippensburg. That talk begins with high jumper Emily Lessman, who has qualified for the PIAA meet three straight years.

“I have a couple of others who are, I call them on the fringe,” Brittain said. “They have a chance to advance and accomplish something special. If things happen to fall in place. They have to be able to work hard in the latter part of the season and avoid injury.”

Schrecengost said the Scotties have qualified for the WPIAL finals 10 times, but have “never brought back the gold.” The WPIAL team finals are scheduled May 9.

“It's just a matter of everybody putting forth their best efforts and going above and beyond even what they see themselves of being capable of,” Schrecengost said. “The sky's the limit for a lot of these kids.”

“It's all about depth,” Brittain added. “If you have good depth, not necessarily winning every race, but getting second and third it all adds up.”

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or