Plum cross country teams open at Gateway Invitational
By Michael Love
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, 8:54 p.m.
The Plum boys and girls cross country team members ran an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday at Boyce Park to get acclimated to the atmosphere of an upcoming race, whether it is a dual meet or an invitational.
The Mustangs have had the conditioning part down pat, as the team members have logged many miles throughout Plum Borough over the spring and summer months.
“I thought we ran well at the intrasquad scrimmage,” veteran head coach Joe Ionta said. “The teams have a lot of potential.”
The Plum teams kick off their season at the 24th annual Gateway Invitational on Saturday morning at Boyce Park.
More than a dozen teams will be in action, and the races begins with the varsity girls at 9 a.m., followed by the varsity boys race at 9:30.
The junior varsity boys and girls races will be at 10 and 10:30, respectively.
The Gateway Invitational again will feature middle school races. The boys race will be at 11, with the girls race at 11:20.
“The kids are excited,” Ionta said. “They are looking forward to running against kids in different- color uniforms. There are always great teams at the Gateway Invitational. It always gives us a good idea of where we are to start the season.”
Ionta said the number of runners on both teams really have impressed him. A total of 54 runners are on both teams – 29 girls and 25 boys.
“They are all working hard, and the weather has really cooperated,” he said.
Five of the top seven Plum varsity girls finishers at last year's WPIAL championship meet return this season.
Ionta said goodbye to graduates Liz Addison and Steph Tomaro, but he welcomes back seniors Gina Valotta, Courtney Liberatore and Mia Pietropola; junior Chrissy Joyce; and sophomore Abby Sebuna.
Senior Jordan Rupp missed most of last year because of injury, but, Ionta said, she is running well at the start of the season and hopes to make an impact.
Of the top 10, four might be freshmen, as, Ionta said, Josie DiClaudio, Maddie Biertempfel, Kayla Anderson and Ana Benitez hope to be in the mix.
The Mustangs boys varsity squad also returns five of the top seven WPIAL finishers from last season.
Brendan Demich and Chris Boggess graduated, but the top three from WPIALs – Luke Jennings, Alan Yocca and Adam Molinaro - return.
Also back are juniors Andy Marzullo and Eddie Amori.
Ionta said Amori was the top runner for the boys team last year until injury hampered his season efforts, especially his efforts at WPIALs.
“It looks like Eddie is back to prime form,” Ionta said.
Sophomores Tyler Mo- wer, Pat Caughney, Liam Butler and Danny Bergless and freshmen Jake Susalla, DuJuon Bill, John Raggiunti and Bill Rhoades, Ionta said, all are hoping to make their marks this season.
“Gateway, Kiski Area, Fox Chapel, Pittsburgh Central Catholic (boys) and Oakland Catholic (girls) are all outstanding squads,” Ionta said.
“It will be a very challenging season for both teams. We hope to be competitive against the top teams and improve as the season goes on. Both squads have a great work ethic, and I know they will improve.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Elizabeth Forward school director accused in coin, jewelry theft
- Book take fictionalized look at famous McKeesport Kennedy-Nixon debate
- Primary challenges revealed
- Students prepare for robotics competitions
- Panthers free agent safety headed to Steelers
- Sheriff’s sale provides new owner for Wall Hotel
- Orpik rises to occasion as Penguins take down Capitals once again
- Figure skating coach dies in crash at Washington County Airport
- Penguins notebook: Letang skating, but no return set
- Can Pirates star outfielder McCutchen be even better in 2014?
- Police charge Westmoreland County priest in $124,000 theft case