Shaler runners build foundation at WPIAL meet
A majority of Shaler's cross country runners had their first experience at the WPIAL Class AAA cross country championships Oct. 26 at Cooper's Lake.
With some first-hand experience under their belt, Titans coach Justin Eskra expects the real work to start now. All of his runners ran a personal best for the season on a redesigned course.
“I was kind of indifferent to the course,” Eskra said. “It was the fastest race I've been part of in my years as an assistant or head coach.”
The Shaler girls finished 26th as a team, losing a tiebreaker with McKeesport by earning 740 points. The Titans were led by freshman Danielle Eshelman, who finished with 47th with a time of 20 minutes, 45 seconds.
Freshman Haley Sahr (134th, 22:48), sophomore Bella Pilyih (143rd, 23:02), freshman Grace Raida (206th, 25:43) and senior Adeline Kubisek (210th, 26:24) rounded out the top five.
On the boys' side, the Titans placed 29th. Sophomore Dalton Kalbaugh finished 33rd with a time of 17:19. Junior Noah Paszkowski (163rd, 19:24), junior Eddie Sheets (173rd, 19:34), freshman Jonathan Zang (195th, 20:14) and sophomore Calvin Morris (199th, 20:28) rounded out the top five for Shaler.
Eskra sees a foundation for the future, should the youngsters continue to work at the same pace.
“Dalton and Danielle were both about 12 or 13 seconds away from going to states,” Eskra said.
Shaler senior Tanner Grzegorczyk tied for 16th at the PIAA Class AAA boys golf championships at Heritage Hills Golf Resort. Grzegorczyk shot 9-over-par 151 (77-74) at the two-day tournament.
His finish was an improvement over his junior season, when he placed 23rd.
Sam Stayduhar's third-period power-play goal allowed Shaler to put undefeated South/East Division Leader Hempfield on the ropes. The Spartans maintained their firm grip on top of the division when Dominic Schimizzi scored in overtime to give Hempfield a 5-4 win.
The Spartans had a 3-1 lead in the second period before Mitchell Werry and William Junker scored to tie the game. Hempfield went back ahead at the end of the second period on a goal by Kane Mills.
Wyatt Wolf made 25 saves for Shaler (1-3).
Shaler had a short stay in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs. The Titans were swept 3-0 in the first round by Section 1 champion Armstrong. The River Hawks went on to reach the WPIAL finals.
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.