Plum duo runs at PIAA meet
By Michael Love
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 8:54 p.m.
Plum freshman Jake Susalla and junior Alan Yocca ran at the PIAA Class AAA cross country championships for the first time Saturday, as the state's best high school distance runners battled for top honors on Hershey's Giant Center Complex course.
Susalla was 176th after the first mile of the three-mile race, and he moved up to 151st after the second mile.
When it was all over, Susalla, who placed 16th at the WPIAL championships two weeks ago, was 131st with a time of 17:34.
“It was Jake's first year running distance in any form,” Plum head coach Joe Ionta said. “He has come a long way.”
Susalla finished third among all freshmen runners.
“He's going to be more confident in the way he runs as he gets older and gets more experienced,” Ionta said. “He knows he needs to push it a little earlier, but that comes with experience.
“A 17:34 in those conditions is outstanding. The future is bright for him. He's a hard worker who responds to challenges.”
Yocca, who finished 18th at WPIALs, battled illness up to and through his race.
He finished 215th overall with a time of 19:27.
“He wasn't feeling well, but he wanted to run,” Ionta said.
“He had worked hard all year to get to states. The weather conditions (rain and wind) weren't conducive for someone not feeling 100 percent. The positive thing for Alan is that he has another year to come back. He has a track season to look forward to and both seasons next year. Finishing 18th at WPIALs is big. He should be proud of that.”
Susalla and Yocca recorded the two best WPIAL finishes in the history of the Plum boys cross country program.
“Their runs at WPIALs and the entire season speak to their work ethic,” Ionta said.
“Both brought their times down significantly from the beginning of the season. It speaks volumes to where they wanted to go and what they wanted to accomplish.”
Ionta said the course was in pretty good shape after a week's worth of rain from Superstorm Sandy pounded down.
“To be honest, the course was in a lot better shape than I thought it was going to be,” he said.
“I thought mud would be ankle deep in spots. It wasn't ideal conditions, but (the course managers) did a good job with the course considering all the rain they had. We were considering running with longer spikes, but we didn't need to.”
A pair of WPIAL runners placed in the top five of the boys AAA race.
Kiski Area junior Brent Kennedy finished second. He was one of three runners in the race to break 16 minutes, as he finished with a time of 15:52.
Fox Chapel junior Ethan Martin finished tied for fourth with a time of 16:00.
WPIAL team champion North Allegheny finished fourth in the team standings at states.
West Chester Henderson from District 1 won the state title. The team had all seven runners place 31st or better.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Orpik on IR; Dumoulin recalled
- Kovacevic: Enough of these Steelers already
- Aliquippa’s Henry picks West Virginia over Pitt
- Steelers WR Brown says ‘I thought I had it clean’ after wild, near-miss finish
- Robinson: $500K proposal for August Wilson Center brought threats, vitriol
- Penguins players are not out looking for fights
- Former Pirate Parker does not make Hall of Fame
- Keno, lottery privatization could be back before Pennsylvania Senate
- Greensburg man dies after multi-vehicle crash on Route 22
- Man robs Dollar Bank in North Huntingdon
- Feds say Castle Shannon businessman forged bridge bid documents