Fox Chapel cross country teams surprise with early success

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Saturday, September 17, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Fox Chapel’s route to a fourth consecutive boys cross country section title won’t be an easy one with five of the top seven runners graduated.

But 11th-year coach Tom Moul is happy with the progress and contributions of some newcomers.

Two female runners also graduated last spring.

“We’ve had two meets and a scrimmage,” Moul said. “Things are going how I expected, but there’s a couple nice surprises.”

Fox Chapel’s boys and girls won the Gateway Invitational.

“It’s a pretty small invitational, but it was a good one to get us started with,” Moul said. “It’s always nice to go there and get a win and get some confidence. We went to the Red, White & Blue Invitational in White Oak and we were little bit depleted in terms of our top runners injured.”

A high point of the White Oak event was the freshman-only race where Moul entered all of the Foxes ninth graders.

There are no senior starters on the team this year.

On the boys side, the top runner is junior Rowan Gwin, who medaled in the WPIAL track finals last year in the 1,600. Gwin finished 12th out of nearly 200 runners at White Oak.

“He’s our leader and our No. 1,” said Moul. “We’ve got a bunch of sophomores and freshmen who are vying for spots and working hard and making progress.”

Others performing well are junior Max Kaizer, sophomores Nicky Clump, Altai Yumak and Ethan Vaughan and freshman Michael Costello.

On the girls side, Marin Airik finished third in the freshman race at the Red, White & Blue.

Said Moul: “Marin’s someone who we hope can make some progress along with juniors Clara Kelly and Emily Haradja and sophomore Sarah Michalak.”

There are about 25 runners on each of the teams. Moul is particularly pleased with the higher turnout of female ninth graders.

As far as section competition goes, both the boys and girls entries in Section 4-3A have a unique, one-day meet where the section is decided. It’s more like the way colleges do it.

That day, Fox Chapel will be joined by Armstrong, Gateway, Franklin Regional, Kiski Area, Plum, Penn Hills and Woodland Hills at Northmoreland Park in Allegheny Township.

“That’s different than other schools who have individual section meets,” Moul explained. “We like it because it limits the amount of racing we have to do and allows us the freedom to run in invitationals over the weekend.”

Invitationals don’t count toward section records.

Fox Chapel’s girls were runners-up in the section last year.

The Foxes have only one scrimmage at Hartwood Acres this year, its former home course.

The WPIAL meet will be held at Cal (Pa.) again this season.

Moul again is assisted this year by Justin Patterson, also in his 11th season.

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