Hempfield girls cross country team hopes to challenge for title, while boys work to improve
TribLIVE Sports Videos
After 41 years as Hempfield's cross country coach, Ron Colland still has a passion for running, a sport that he knows doesn't get a lot of publicity.
“I still enjoy cross country, which is a different animal (than other popular sports),” Colland said.
This year, Colland has eight first-year cross country runners and only four seniors between the girls and boys team, a sign that there's still an interest.
“Sometimes, it's hard to convince (students) to give cross country a try,” said Colland, who is also a Hempfield track coach. “I think some kids that are on the cross country team persuaded their friends to come out.”
Jacob Bancroft, Tyler Borelli and Josh Suszek are running competitively for the first time and all have cracked the top 5 for the Spartans.
“It's something new to them,” Colland said. “We try to be cautious with them in terms of the type of course we run. We want them to have fun and continue to enjoy it and want to work hard.”
Runners Jordan Stack and August Papas return to a team that placed 18th at the WPIAL Championships a year ago and graduated five seniors. Stack, a sophomore, paces the boys, as he ran a 17:37 at the Red, White and Blue Invitational Sept. 7 at Schenley Park.
“That was about a minute and a half faster than he ran last year as a freshman in his first year of cross country,” Colland said of Stack. “That's a pretty nice improvement.”
With such inexperience, Colland looks for steady improvement throughout the season in hopes it carries over.
“All these guys will continue to improve as the year goes on,” Colland said. “I think next year will be a real good season for them.”
As for the girls, junior Morgan Ansell is a two-time state qualifier and top runner on a team that finished seventh at WPIALs last season.
“She basically trains year round,” Colland said. “Hopefully, she'll be able to (qualify for states) again this year for the third consecutive year.”
Joining Ansell are returners sophomore Rachel Fiaschetti and senior Brianna Gaudi as well as first-timers freshman Michelle Burns and sophomore Olivia Adams.
The Spartans took second in the Slippery Rock Invitational last weekend with an average time of 21:09. With such a strong top 5, the girls have a shot at being a PIAA team qualifier if everything goes just right.
Since the WPIAL split into three classifications, Class AAA receives three PIAA bids now instead of four.
Justin Criado 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.
- Steelers’ defense on pace for fewest sacks in 16-game season
- Consumer, core prices inch up
- Flyers continue mastery of Penguins at Consol
- Penn State defense returns to familiar spot atop Big Ten Conference
- Florida fugitive nabbed in Pittsburgh-area homeless shelter
- Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack
- Pitt offense eyes healthy balance
- VA promotion for administrator stuns legislator
- Highmark seeks double-digit increase for more benefits, heavy use
- Contempt citation sought by state against Highmark for alleged violation of deal with UPMC
- PS New Kensington men’s soccer earns playoff win