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Connellsville cross country lacks numbers, not quality

| Friday, Sept. 9, 2011

Although the Connellsville cross country program doesn't have many runners, it still has a chance to be successful this season.

"I've got several good, dedicated seniors that have been doing this for a while," first-year coach Patrick Mullaney said. "They make it easy."

Seniors Mason Jaynes and Jace Macioli are strong runners for the boys team, which also boasts a newcomer in senior Robert Coffman as well as juniors Matt Cramer, Michael Jacobyansky and Matthew Ream and sophomore Joe Baughman.

"I had good turnouts all summer during workouts, and the guy that came out the most was Baughman," Mullaney said.

The runner with the most talent on the boys squad appears to be Jacobyansky.

"Michael Jacobyansky has a shot to go to states if he stays healthy," Mullaney said.

Having a runner make it to states would be a great individual accomplishment, and Mullaney believes the boys are capable of some nice goals as a team, as well.

"I honestly think our first step would be to win the section and bring it back to Connellsville and then see where we go from there," Mullaney said.

Connellsville will compete in Section 2-AAA.

While the boys team fields a roster of seven runners, the Connellsville girls team has just six athletes.

"They've come to practice, and they're willing to work," Mullaney said of the girls.

Senior Anna Murphy heads up the squad.

"Anna Murphy has had six years of cross country, and she is a great leader for this team," Mullaney said.

Murphy will be joined by senior Christina Parrill, junior Haylie Eutsey, sophomores Rachel Miller and Isabella Sigado and freshman Abbi Cook.

If all the runners compete in the scheduled meets, the girls will have enough to field a complete team. The goals will be modest to start.

"We didn't have a full team last year, so I think this year, we can start at .500," Mullaney said. "That's what we're looking at."

Mullaney is a former cross country runner and a 2003 Connellsville graduate. He's grateful for the opportunity to coach at his alma mater and likes the desire that his runners are showing.

"I like to be involved with them, and I see some of the same fire in these kids that I had," he said.

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