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South Side Beaver runner emerges as WPIAL title contender

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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South Side Beaver junior Colten Trimble finished third at the PIAA Foundation Cross Country Invitational.

South Side Beaver junior Colten Trimble considers himself a solid contender for WPIAL and PIAA Class AA boys titles, having had an impressive showing at the PIAA Foundation Cross Country Invitational meet in Hershey last month.

But Trimble sometimes has to be reminded of his potential, coach Kevin Neal said.

“We tell him that (if he wants) to be the No. 1 runner at WPIALs, he's going to have to be running out ahead of everybody,” Neal said. “He can't hang back.”

At the PIAA Foundation Invitational, Trimble, 16, finished third in the A boys 5K with a mark of 17 minutes, 8 seconds, just 13 seconds behind winner Julian Degroot-Lutzner of Masterman and 12 seconds behind runner-up Morgan Schenberg of Saegertown. The meet is considered a preview of the PIAA championship, scheduled for Nov. 2 on the same course.

Trimble said he has improved in setting the pace.

“On longer runs, I'll run (alongside a) friend, but in speed workouts, I'll go out ahead,” Trimble said. “At team practices, I'm setting an example.”

Trimble expected to break the South Side Beaver course record of 18:02 in a Section 1-AA meet against Beaver, Beaver Falls and Union earlier this week. Results were not available before this edition's deadline.

He holds school records on all courses on which he has competed, including the Slippery Rock Invitational, where he finished sixth this year in 17 minutes.

“Colten's such a great kid,” Neal said. “He's got unique ability, plus he's a hard worker who takes advice well.

“He has a passion for running. The sky's the limit.

“Short of injury, it's up to him how high he wants to finish.”

After placing 10th at the WPIAL Class A championship, Trimble finished 31st in the state a year ago.

Neal, who is in his second year as head coach, said he spotted Trimble's talent early.

“As a freshman, right away, he was only 12 seconds behind our best runner,” Neal said. “He was right behind him the whole season long.”

Trimble, who took up cross country upon determining he was too small to play football, placed 34th in 2011 at the WPIAL Class AA championship.

Senior captains Laura Kenderes and Stephanie Hilliard said Trimble has helped set the tone for the girls team, too.

“When I can hardly walk (yet run), he inspires me,” said Kenderes, 18. “He's never giving less than 100 percent.”

Hilliard looks forward to Trimble greeting her at the end of races.

“He cheers for everyone who's still running,” said Hilliard, 17.

Karen Kadilak is a contributing writer.

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