GCC boys runners capture 1st section title since '09
This season has been one for the record books for the Greensburg Central Catholic boys cross country team.
The Centurions completed an undefeated section season, defeating Ford City, Freeport, Indiana, Riverview, Southmoreland, West Shamokin, Kittanning and Shady Side Academy to capture the Division II, Section 4 title.
Coach Kim Gorr knew a magical season would be possible once the Centurions defeated Shady Side Academy, 25-31, back in late September.
The depth of the boys team with the mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen was crucial in capturing the first section crown since 2009.
“While the kids started strong, they even finished stronger. My two freshmen have stepped up and taken a good role. They have been very instrumental in finishing in a pack together,” Gorr said. “My first two runners are able to finish ahead of the rest, and the next four come in within seconds of each other.”
The freshmen who stepped up were Aiden Brewer and Brendan Maher, while the usual front-runners consisted of senior co-captains Vince Mirigliano and Philip Forsythe.
“It has been a really great year. Coach has really worked us hard during training and she has really motivated everyone to work hard,” Mirigliano said. “It feels great that we won the section knowing how much work we put into this season. It's great to see it has really paid off.”
Gorr said coaching the boys team has come easy with the senior leadership of Mirigliano and Forsythe.
“They all like each other, and they all hang out together outside of school. They are all good friends, and no one is left out. They are a nice, tight-knit group,” Gorr said.
Forsythe, the more vocal leader, has been the one to lead the squad in pre-race chants and post-game celebrations of singing the Centurions' alma mater, while Mirigliano leads by his actions on the course.
“We just play off each other strengths. We don't have too many huge issues on the team,” Mirigliano said. “We are all friends. We are all cheering for everyone, and it motivates everyone to run faster and push through the pain.”
The Centurions now are preparing to reach their peak Oct. 23 for the WPIAL championship meet at Cooper's Lake Campground near Slippery Rock.
“We have been doing the status quo. We have been working hard this season. I haven't changed up the practice schedule too much. We have our routine down on what days we go for our long run, our hills day and the days we do our speed work,” Gorr said.
“I haven't changed it up too much besides giving them one extra day of rest a week. We have been running about six days a week and the last week or so we have cut that down to five.”
Andrew John is a freelance writer.