Running, picking, digging — Krall enjoys it all
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Oh, what to do on those boring bus rides to scholastic athletic events.
How about being treated to the popular tune “Dueling Banjos” from the 1972 movie “Deliverance.”
Or perhaps macabre tales about unusual discoveries in the graveyard?
Frazier cross-country coach Joe Turek doesn't have to worry about keeping his runners entertained on the bus — not with senior and lead runner Cory Krall occupying the backseat, banjo in hand.
“I always wanted to play the banjo and I finally bought one. Right now I'm teaching myself, but I plan to take lessons. Right now I play fun stuff, like “Dueling Banjos,” but I'm sure my song choices will grow once I have more experience. I started playing the banjo at the beginning of summer, so I'm still a newbie at it.”
And tales from the beyond?
Well, not quite.
Still, for the past two years Krall, a four-year letterman and team captain, has worked at Mt. Washington Cemetery in Perryopolis, initially keeping weeds in check, but also digging graves, by hand.
Helping the caretaker dig graves is “hard work, especially by hand,” said Krall, who, at 5-10, 115 pounds, has a near-typical cross country physique, discovered, “especially when you hit stone. We don't have a machine to do the job, so it's all by hand. It generally takes two days to complete the job.”
When Krall started digging, several of his cross-country teammates began calling him “Grave digger,” and the nickname stuck.
Krall, the Commodores number two runner as a junior last year, became the leader of the pack this season, thanks in part to his maturing into the team leader, Turek noted. “Cory took over the leadership role right away this season. He has been consistent in all our workouts and does not slack off in either speed or distance workouts. He either takes the lead or runs with the leaders. He is a strong runner with great endurance. He was valuable as our number two runner last year and gives us an edge at the top position. He gets better as the season goes on and peaks at the end of the year.”
With his home close to the Commodores' cross-country course at Sampey Park, Krall watched the runners run by when he was in middle school and became involved, along with several friends, who are still running together. As a junior, he finished among the top 15 runners in the Fayette County championships and finished in 28th place at the WPIALs, qualifying for the PIAA championship where, he admitted, he didn't have one of his better outings..
“It may not have been one of my better races, but it was a valuable experience for me for this season,” he said, with an eye on returning to the PIAA championship this year.
This year Krall ran an 18:18 race at an invitational meet held on the WPIAL course, and recorded a personal best time of 18-minutes flat in early September against Charleroi. His first sub-19-minute race occurred at the Penn State Fayette Eberly Campus course.
“Running a personal-best time and making states are amazing feelings,” he said, “but making it to WPIALs as a team, where we finished tenth last year is what we are focusing on right now.”
Although Krall focuses on lowering his times on the cross-country course, he maintains a complete focus on his academics. He makes all As in the classroom and is ranked second in his senior class. He is a member of the National Honor Society, and Foreign Language, Ecology, and Interact clubs and is an officer in each.
This spring he will run the mile- and 2-mile races for the Commodores track team and is a member of the 3200 meters relay team.
Which leaves one final question: Which is more difficult, running cross-country or digging graves?
Krall paused. “Digging graves is definitely hard work, and running cross-country is a different kind of hard work,” he said, chuckling, “but there is more pressure running cross-country, so I have to go with that.”
Les Harvath is a freelance writer.
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.
- Jerome Bettis to be enshrined in hall of fame
- Tennessee quarterback Peterman considers transfer to Pitt
- Suggestions are aplenty on what Penguins need to break through
- Starkey: Pitt needs this version of James Robinson
- Gulls fleeing frozen Great Lakes fill skies over Pittsburgh’s Point
- Westmoreland museum spotlights artist John Kane’s late-in-life fame
- Snow, freezing rain, bitter cold coming to Western Pa.
- Familiar Downtown Pittsburgh presence lost arm, leg to train
- Penguins minor league notebook: Rookie Wilson emerges as 3rd-line NHL prospect
- Pitt upsets No. 8 Notre Dame to snap losing streak
- Westmoreland Museum makeover draws raves