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Frazier features small but dedicated group of runners

| Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, 10:09 p.m.
Jason Black | Daily Courier
Nyoah Marteny and Katelyn Feeney are two of the eight returning lettermen for the Frazier cross country program this season.

Heading into the middle of August, Frazier cross country coach Joe Turek is hoping to see something from his team in the next few weeks. That something is an increase in overall numbers.

“I'm hoping we pick up a few when school starts, and we generally do,” Turek said.

Turek is entering his 50th year of coaching, and he's looking forward to the upcoming season. Still, a few extra bodies certainly would come in handy as the Commodores have a roster comprised of just five boys and five girls.

While this year's team is small, Turek isn't complaining about the 10 members on the varsity roster.

“The kids are as dedicated as any kids are,” Turek said.

Only one senior dots this year's roster. Christina Babyak is the lone upperclassman.

“She has been with us through middle school and high school,” Turek said.

“She is a good leader and like most of our kids, she is near the top of her class.”

Babyak is a returning letterwinner, and so are the other four girls on the roster. Juniors Cassidy Smith, Mikayla Kushner and Katelyn Feeney have all earned varsity letters, as has sophomore Juliana Mosser.

Feeney has been the top female runner, averaging 27 minutes per race. Turek said the goal is to have her run in the 25-minute range.

On the boys side, sophomores Nyoah Marteny, Dan Babyak and Benny Smith are all returning lettermen. Marteny is coming off a strong freshman season, where he was able to hit the 19-minute range.

“For myself, I want to break into the 18s and possibly the 18:30s this year,” Marteny said.

Turek said Marteny will be a key.

“Hopefully we can keep him healthy,” Turek said. “He is really our best runner.”

Freshmen Avery Mathews and Tay Bronson round out the boys roster. Turek, who will be assisted by Dave Puskar, is looking to see best efforts from his athletes.

“It's going to be a strong section,” Turek said. “But the kids run with pride, and they like to represent the school.”

The Commodores lost top runner Christian Katic, who graduated and will be running cross country at Seton Hill.

That loss, coupled with the small roster size, will be challenging for Frazier.

“We are one of the smallest schools in the area,” Marteny said.

“But as long as we can get people out, that's a good thing.”

Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at jblack@tribweb.com.

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