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Frazier cross country looks to rebuild on the run

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Jason Black
Christian Katic and Christina Babyak are returning lettermen on this year's Frazier cross country team.

Frazier cross country coach Joe Turek has coached the sport in six different decades. He will be assisted by Dave Puskar.

The Commodores open the season by taking part in the California University Invitational on Aug. 31.

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The past four seasons have been filled with success for the Frazier cross country program. But this year, a transition phase appears to be taking place.

The Commodores are dealing with the loss of many talented runners, especially on the boys team. Cory Krall, Ryan Maurer, Ian Barotta, Tanner Murt and Billy Mahalko have graduated after helping the Commodores post 37 wins and claim two section titles from 2009-12.

“We're a little slow in replacing them,” Frazier coach Joe Turek said. “Six of our eight (varsity) kids are in the band and in other activities. But they are the best of the best and they are truly student-athletes and if a kid can do it all, let them do it.”

Of the eight athletes who comprise this year's Frazier cross country program, only two are letterwinners. Senior Christian Katic was part of some of the successful teams, and he's hoping the team can start to rebuild.

“We're rebuilding, but I'm pretty optimistic about it,” Katic said. “We'll work with what we have, and we're doing well so far. We have some young kids moving up, and they'll carry on the legacy.”

Katic will be joined by fellow senior Kameron Shoaf. However, Shoaf is dealing with a leg injury, and how effective he can be in the early part of the season remains a question mark.

“Kameron shows a lot of promise, but he is injured right now,” Turek said. “Our freshmen also show a lot of promise.”

Freshmen Nyoah Marteny, Dan Babyak and Benny Smith round out the varsity roster.

Turek is hoping to possibly pick up another runner prior to the start of the season.

The girls team is also in need of runners. Amber Starr has graduated, leaving only three runners on the varsity roster. Junior Christina Babyak is a letterwinner.

She will be joined by sophomore Katelyn Feeney and freshman Juliana Mosser.

“With the girls, we are still short,” Turek said. “But they are all decent, blue-collar runners. They come to practice and they seem to like it.”

The Commodores will compete in Section 3-AA with Avella, Brownsville, Burgettstown, Chartiers-Houston, Fort Cherry, McGuffey, Washington and Waynesburg.

“We just want to progress throughout the season, and hopefully we'll have a few positive surprises along the way,” Turek said.

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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