No room for error for shorthanded Southmoreland cross country teams
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Longtime Southmoreland coach Don Gilpin knows the numbers are against his boys and girls cross country teams this season.
With just five runners on each squad, any type of injury could be devastating.
“There's a lot of sports at Southmoreland and it's hard to get kids to come out (for cross country),” Gilpin said. “We don't have a junior high program, and there's kids who could come out but they're playing soccer. It's very frustrating. You can't win a meet unless you have five runners. You're not eligible to win unless you have five runners finish. It leaves little margin for error. You can't get anyone hurt or sick. This is the worst season I've ever had with (low) numbers.”
That's saying something, considering Gilpin began coaching in 1963 and has coached in some capacity every year since then.
The boys squad will be comprised of senior Mike Garlowich, junior Sage Guynn and sophomores Ben Bickerton, Brendon Hernley and Tyler Nelson.
Garlowich and Hernley will split time between cross country and soccer, but Bickerton, Guynn and Nelson will be full-time runners.
Gilpin believes he has a gem in Bickerton.
“He's going to be a good one,” Gilpin said. “He just missed making the state meet by one runner. He's very coachable and trains and works hard. He's very knowledgeable about running. I'm looking for good things from him before the year's over and the rest of his career.”
For the girls, the roster includes seniors Sarah Brown, Jamie Ellenberger, Mallory Garstecki and Kelsey Kuhns, and sophomore Riley Beistel, who is looking to follow up on a strong freshman season.
“Riley went to the state meet as a ninth-grader and is a very good runner,” Gilpin said. “She's improving every time we run and she's a really hard worker. My other four girls aren't really runners, but I give them more credit and I'm more proud of them than any of the other kids at our school that are doing nothing.”
Southmoreland's boys and girls will compete in Section 4-AA, along with Ford City, Freeport, Greensburg Central Catholic, Kittanning, Riverview, Shady Side Academy and West Shamokin.
Dave Stofcheck is a freelance writer.
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.
- Popular Super Bowl, March Madness traditions prohibited under state law
- Starkey: What are Penguins, Pirates up to?
- IRS scam snares another Westmoreland County resident
- Leader Times roundup: Kittanning girls basketball team rolls past Valley, 61-8
- Capitals dominate overmatched Penguins in win at Verizon Center
- McGuffey tops Kittanning to reach WPIAL wrestling semifinals
- Super Bowl ads win by playing to viewers’ emotions, experts say
- Arnold officer injured in attempt to detain suspect
- For Penguins coach Johnston, it’s a matter of substance over style
- Residents opposed to drilling, Consol subsidiary make cases in Allegheny Township
- BVA wrestlers head to semifinals