Great week for the Latrobe cross country program
As Hanna Green appeared from the behind the softball field at Seton Hill University, on her way to a second Westmoreland County Coaches' Association cross country title, she was completing a great week for the Latrobe cross country program.
Two days earlier, Green and her four senior teammates defeated Hempfield, 26-29, to clinch a tie for the Section 1-AAA title.
And to top things off, the Latrobe Middle School girls squad won the annual Westmoreland Area Athletic Directors Association meet.
“It was an exciting week,” Latrobe coach Todd Simpson said. “Hanna had something to prove, and the girls put together their best race in defeating Hempfield.
“Hempfield had gotten the best of us when we met them, but each time we were getting closer. We told the girls if this would occur when we ran them, we could get them.”
The team of Green, Mary Fratto, Cassidy Schultheis, Casey Columbus and Kasey Paul, all seniors, and junior Katie Slivko grouped together to edge Hempfield.
“We talked about what we needed to happen and what each girl had to accomplish,” Simpson said. “It was pretty big to defeat them. The girls ran super.”
At the county meet, Green didn't let the hilly course bother her. Instead, she used her athletic ability and her sprinter mentally to race out to a big lead over Franklin Regional's Kaitlyn Figurelli and Hempfield's Morgan Ansell at the mile mark.
“I wanted the title badly,” Green said. “I used the downhill to my advantage.
“Last year, I just wasn't focused. I didn't have the confidence that I could win. This year, I wanted to prove that I could win this race again.”
Green was never in trouble, winning the race by more than 20 seconds.
“The team ran a great race in beating Hempfield,” Green said. “It was big for our confidence to beat Hempfield.”
Fratto was the only other Latrobe runner to receive a medal. She placed 14th.
“The No. 1 goal now is to get the girls health for the Tri-State Invitational this week and the WPIALs on Oct. 25,” Simpson said.
The girls and boys ended up third in the county meet.
The Kiski Area girls won the event with 54 points, followed by Hempfield 62 and Latrobe 85.
Others scoring points with Green and Fratto were Schultheis (21st), Taylor Klasnic (22nd) and Paul (27th).
Columbus (31st) and Janine Schomer (37th) also ran for the varsity in the county meet.
The boys race was won by Kiski Area with 39 points. Franklin Regional was next with 69 points, and Latrobe had 99.
Kevin Augustime placed ninth overall, and Nate Jackson was 14th. They picked up medals.
Also helping the boys to the third-place finish were Ron Monack (19th), Ryan Soisson (25th) and Chad Leone (32). Zach Stewart (38th) and Josh Harter (41) also competed.
“As for the middle school team, we have six to eight darn good girls who can compete for jobs next season,” Simpson said. “Because we have five seniors, there will be an opportunity for starting jobs between the junior and sophomore girls and the middle school team.
“I look at what's coming up and it excites me. We may reload, but the transition won't be as difficult.”
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-836-5095.