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Fox Chapel runners have big shoes to fill

| Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Last season was one to remember for the Fox Chapel cross country team.

The boys compiled an 8-0 section record and finished second at the WPIAL meet.

They also qualified for the PIAA meet.

The girls went 7-1 in the section, and Mary Humphrey finished 14th at the WPIAL meet and 43rd at states.

Several key members of those teams graduated, but coach Tom Moul is hoping for another solid season.

“Our biggest losses were Ethan and Colin Martin, both of whom are attending Michigan on track scholarships,” he said. “On the girls side, we lost Bella Verardi, who was our No. 2 runner. They will be missed. We've got some good runners returning, though.”

The boys will be led by seniors Elias Graca, Jacob Halasowski, Chris Good and Andrew Golio. Junior Brendan Urso and sophomore Alec Eckman also will contribute.

“On the boys side, our strength will be our senior leadership and overall work ethic,” Moul said.

“Many of the top kids have been working together all summer and are very focused going into the season.

“They feel they have something to prove, that Fox Chapel can still be a top team despite losing our two top guys from the past couple of seasons.”

Humphrey, a junior, will pace the girls along with junior Maura Whelan. Seniors Greta Altmeyer and Sanders Bennett bring experience and leadership and will be joined by sophomore Harper Bennett.

“The girls are focused on improving as a team at the WPIAL meet and perhaps in the section, as well,” the coach said.

“As individuals, Mary and Maura have been working very hard all summer, putting in the miles necessary to be successful this year. Mary is focused on winning a medal at states, and she'll have an opportunity to do so if she remains healthy and keeps working hard.”

Moul expects Central Catholic to be the biggest section threat for the boys and Kiski Area for the girls.

Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-782-2123 or mstewart@tribweb.com.

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