ShareThis Page

Knoch cross country teams get quick start out of the gate

| Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Knoch High School sophomores Mandi Moxie and Lauren Karenbauer compete at the Seneca Valley cross country tri meet.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Knoch High School junior Preston Carlsson competes at the Seneca Valley cross country tri meet.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Knoch High School junior Adam Sudano (right) his team stretch following their race at the Seneca Valley cross country tri meet.

Knoch's boys and girls cross country teams have big goals this season.

So far, they're happy with their pace — on the course and in the standings.

Both Knights squads are coming off strong showings at the recent Slippery Rock Invitational. The boys placed seventh overall — third among Class AA teams — in a 46-team field, and the girls were fifth overall in a 36-team field and first among Class AA opponents.

“We all ran very well as a team,” Knoch coach Wess Brahler said. “We're hoping for big things for both the boys and girls this year.”

Knoch's boys returned five of the top seven runners from last year's squad that placed sixth at the WPIAL championships. So far, though, the Knights have proven to be contenders this year. They began on a positive note with the team championships at the Quad County Warm-Up and West Middlesex Big Red Invitational.

“We're pretty excited,” Brahler said. “Winning the Big Red Invitational and finishing third at the Slippery Rock Invitational really helped us start the season off in the right direction.”

Preston Carlsson, a junior, and Brandon Grumski, a sophomore, have been helping lead the Knights. Carlsson, who finished fifth at last year's WPIAL championship and 33rd at the PIAA championship, won the Quad County Warm-Up and finished fourth at the Big Red Invitational.

While Carlsson struggled at the Slippery Rock Invitational, Grumski stepped up. Grumski, who finished second at the Quad County Warm-Up and seventh at the Big Red Invitational, placed fifth overall and second among Class AA runners.

“He ran a personal best of 16:54,” Brahler said. “He is really excited about it.”

Overall, the Knights were flying on the Slippery Rock course at Cooper's Lake Campground, which doubles as the site of the WPIAL championship meets.

“Our team average was 18:02. That's the fastest average this time of year in our history,” Brahler said. “Also, 10 of our 21 boys ran personal bests. That was pretty impressive.”

Other top Knoch finishers included Paul Kasunic (84th, 18:14), John Ejzak (87th, 18:15), Nathaniel Pettit (95th, 18:19), Aidan Neigh (97th, 18:23), Luke Brewer (102nd, 18:29) and Andy Kingan (117th, 18:42).

“Our goal is to qualify for states and challenge for a WPIAL championship. That's what we'll strive for and work for every day in practice,” Brahler said. “It all comes back to our summer. We started preparation in June. We met three days a week, and they all had their training plans.

“It's a special group. They've all bought in and they all get along. It's the same way with the girls. They have their plan in place, too. They want to contend for a WPIAL title and want to get back to states. There's something special about these girls, too.”

The Knights sport a young, but experienced girls squad. Junior Ashlyn Carlsson and sophomores Abby Jones, Mandi Moxie, Mandy Hunt and Lauren Karenbauer all return from last year's PIAA qualifying team.

“They have their goals set high this year,” Brahler said. “I don't think they were surprised by making it to the state meet last year. They knew that they had some talent. That was our focus all season.”

Moxie led Knoch's girls at the Slippery Rock Invitational. She placed 24th in 20:53. Ashlyn Carlsson (51st, 21:40), Karenbauer (53rd, 21:42), Hunt (62nd, 21:54), freshman Rachel Wittmer (78th, 22:12), Jones (78th, 22:43) and junior Elizabeth Butler (173rd, 24:38) also competed.

“We're slowly coming around in the shape we need to be in,” Brahler said. “The girls have been at this since June, too, and they're slowly getting back in race shape. Once we fine-tune things, it'll be pretty exciting. They're on the right track.”

Joe Sager is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.