South Fayette cross country ready to fulfill its destiny
By Nathan Smith
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
For the South Fayette boys cross country team, 2013 might be a season of destiny.
The Lions return every runner from a 2012 squad that finished third at the WPIAL Class AA championship race and 10th at the PIAA event.
“It is like the stars aligned perfectly,” Evan Zombek said. “Everyone came back. You couldn't ask for anything more.”
The returning runners include seniors Frank Morelli, Joncarlo Patton, Ryan Lerda, Patrick Brady and Evan and Stephen Zombek as well as junior Devan Sandala.
The runners said they were pleased with reaching the PIAA championship race last season but it fell short of meeting their expectations.
“We felt it was pretty disappointing,” Morelli said. “To have the season we had, finishing in third is nothing like we thought we would do. It humbles you. It has fueled us to get better.”
It is this focus that has coach Joe Winans excited. Most years a team will need to get younger players on track. But this season's team has a clear focus.
“What is real great about this group is that they all understand not only how they work and run but how their teammates work and run,” Winans said. “They are very cohesive.
“They know by attacking a race or working in a certain way will draw a little more out of their teammates.”
The team has looked strong in two invites so far this season. The Lions finished as the top Class AA program and fifth overall at the Red, White and Blue Invitational and second overall at the Slippery Rock Invite behind only Mt. Lebanon.
“Those are real confidence boosters,” Winans said. “The only teams ahead of us were Mt. Lebanon, Fox Chapel and North Allegheny. Those are some of the premier programs in western Pennsylvania.”
The Red, White and Blue Invitational gave South Fayette some bragging rights as it finished ahead of Quaker Valley.
The Quakers have won the WPIAL Class AA title six years in a row. The Lions finished second to Quaker Valley at the WPIAL race in 2010.
“I started high school cross country last year because I hurt my ankle in middle school,” Brady said. “But with just last year I can see a rivalry has developed between us and Quaker Valley. After one year, I want to go out and knock them off.”
The Lions will have a busy month leading up to the WPIAL championship race on Oct. 24 as they will run at the Central Catholic Invite, the Mingo Classic and the TSTCA Invitational at Coopers Lake – the same location as the championship race.
While the team wants to get some strong finishes, South Fayette is using the events as stepping stones to its ultimate goals.
“The invites will be good practice for WPIALs and states,” Evan Zombek said. “We want to go in and win but we need to stay focused on the big races. If you worry about the trophies you have won, you'll never get one in the future.”
The Lions will run in the Central Catholic Invitational in Schenley Park on Saturday. Start time is scheduled for 9 a.m.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or 412-388-5813.
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.
- Pitt’s Donald sweeps Outland, Bednarik awards, named All-American
- Penguins notebook: Popularity with female fans brings test event to Consol
- Hempfield junior Morgan Ansell keeps on running
- Pirates claim 3 pitchers in minor league Rule 5 draft
- Feds to collect public comment on plan to permit cellphone service on airplanes
- Pirates agree with Barmes on 1-year deal
- Garden Theater developer says plans changing for block’s buildings
- Treat cyber schools fairly
- Motorist helps troopers arrest man near Route 22
- Motivated quarterback Roethlisberger fights to prop up Steelers
- Westmoreland County rail, aviation grants total $3.1 million