Fox Chapel cross country team, top runner Rowan Gwin dialed in at WPIAL meet

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Sunday, November 5, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Fox Chapel senior Rowan Gwin looked forward to mentoring junior teammate Drew Black at the PIAA Class 4A cross country championships in Hershey. If anyone had the requisite experience for helping a first-time runner out, it was Gwin, who was making his third trip and had a wide range of experiences.

The Fox Chapel senior doesn’t like to talk about his performance at the race as a junior. Gwin had the flu and finished in 112th place with a time of 17 minutes, 55.7 seconds.

“The first time, it was a great experience,” said Gwin, who qualified for states again by finishing in third place in 15:57. “The second year was the worst possible outcome. I know both sides of it. I’ll give him some tips. It’s important to not take the first mile too fast.”

Fox Chapel nearly sent its entire boys team to the event. The Foxes placed third at the WPIAL championship meet behind Butler and North Allegheny. Fox Chapel was missing one of its top runners in Ethan Vaughan.

Michael Costello finished in 18th place and missed qualifying for states by two spots. Nicky Clump also placed 39th.

“I think the WPIAL got robbed on not having a third team qualify for states, but that is what it is,” Fox Chapel coach Thomas Moul said. “The team performed well. They were really focused and placed as high as they could with a lot of quality teams around them.”

Gwin said his focus in the race was trying to stick with North Allegheny’s Jack Bertram for as long as he could.

Bertram finished in second place in 15:31.07.

“(Jack) takes the first mile more conservative and never goes out fast,” Gwin said. “I know if I’m with him at the mile mark, I’m at a great spot. I was right with him going up the hill at the mile mark.”

Moul was pleased with how Gwin handled getting back to training. He reduced his mileage severely during the early part of the season because he got injured during outdoor track season last spring.

“It didn’t impact him as much as I thought it would,” Moul said. “He has a lot of mileage under his belt for his whole career. I knew he could get to a high level. I think he is really motivated this time.”

Gwin is deciding between running at Appalachian State or Duquesne in college. But before he makes that decision, Gwin was excited to take one more crack at having success on the state level.

Gwin got a preview of what that could be like when Fox Chapel ran at the Foundation Meet earlier this season.

“I got 14th there, which was the same place I got as last year,” Gwin said. “It was great because I had no training going into that race. I’m looking forward to going to the states because Foundations gave me motivation. Mentally that made me a lot stronger. When we ran at Foundations, it was raining and the conditions couldn’t be much worse than that.”

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