Quaker Valley cross country teams out to defend WPIAL titles
TribLIVE Sports Videos
While some teams may crack under the pressure of trying to repeat the success of past teams, Quaker Valley cross country teams embrace it.
The Quakers are coming off banner years in 2012 as the boys team captured its fifth straight WPIAL Class AA title while the girls captured their fourth. It was the ninth title for the boys and eighth for the girls since 2000.
While each team needs to fill voids created by graduation, they have been working hard during the summer in hopes of adding another WPIAL title to the trophy case.
“The kids don't want to be the group that drops the ball,” Quaker Valley coach David Noyes said. “Their not running for themselves but for the teammates in the past seasons who have gone though all the hard work to be successful.”
The boys team lost two runners to graduation but return plenty of talent and have several freshmen looking to push the upperclassmen.
Seniors Luke Kropf and Rob Veltre will be the leaders of the squad.
Kropf finished ninth at the WPIAL Class AA championship race last season with a time of 17:28 while Veltre finished 24th with a time of 18:05.
“They are two different types of leaders,” Noyes said. “(Veltre) is all business while (Kropf) is a little more relaxed and has a calming influence. They work well together. They should both challenge for the WPIAL championship depending on how things go.”
Three juniors also return after gaining WPIAL experience last year. Xavier Lang finished in 16th (17:35), Charlie Kristo in 34th (18:29) and Alex Comerci in 78th (19:35) at the championship race in 2012.
The team well welcome in a group of freshmen looking for a varsity position. Zach Skolnekovich in particular has been pushing the returning starters from last season.
“Usually you don't see freshman boys at the top challenging for a spot,” Noyes said. “But he is super talented. His sister Rachel was our No. 1 girls runner last year.”
The girls lost three runners to graduation but return four runners who gained WPIAL championship experience a season ago.
Sophomore Hannah Bablak will look to repeat the strong season she had in 2012. She finished sixth at the WPIAL Class AA championships with a time of 20:27, second only to then-senior Rachel Skolnekovich's 20:06 for Quaker Valley.
“It took her most of the season for her to get in shape,” Noyes said. “She didn't run at all last summer. But with her strong finish in cross country and a good season in track, she realized how good she can be. We are expecting a big year from her.”
Senior Ashley McKendry finished in 15th at WPIALs last season with a time of 21:18 and will provide leadership to the team, as will senior Mary Grace Beson, who finished in 43rd at the WPIAL race with a time of 22:34.
Junior Caroline Westwood also returns after taking 51st at WPIALs with a time of 22:57.
The girls team will also welcome in a large group of freshmen to fill out the roster. The group of ninth-graders is particularly large for the teams, welcoming in 13 new faces.
“We don't usually get those kind of numbers,” Noyes said. “We often pick up kids after their freshmen season. They will try out another sport or do nothing at all and hear about the team and come out as sophomores or juniors.
“To have runners coming out as freshmen is ideal for us. It bodes well for the future.”
The Quakers will get the season under way on Sept. 7 at the Red, White and Blue Invitational at Schenley Park. The race starters at 8:30 a.m.
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.
- Pirates notebook: Taillon headed for surgery, Richard traded
- Russian winger Plotnikov could join Penguins in August
- Ex-teammates say Kessel unfairly criticized
- Pirates can’t overcome long rain delay, Indians in interleague setback
- New Penguin Kessel’s shot is what makes him special
- Bethel trio of siblings celebrate 150 years of marriage
- Tiny black weevils booming in W.Pa.
- Homewood West woman charged after stabbing woman during card game
- Man fatally shot in East Liberty; police investigating 2nd shooting
- America’s path to freedom reflected in region’s numerous historic sites
- Youngwood man’s crash knocks out power in Monessen