Fox Chapel runner Fitch signs with Temple

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Friday, December 20, 2019 | 6:53 PM


Fox Chapel senior Christian Fitch is the most decorated American runner to come down the pike — literally and figuratively — for the Temple men’s cross country team since James Snyder became coach in 2013.

Fitch, 18, of O’Hara, recently signed a letter of intent to compete next season for the Philadelphia school.

Snyder said Fitch is the rare recruit to go under 9 minutes, 20 seconds for 3,200 meters in track (9:17.75 in the 2019 PIAA Class AAA championship meet). He also is one of his first recruits from the WPIAL.

“(He will) have an opportunity to contribute right away with a big freshman class,” Snyder said.

Fitch said Snyder and Owls assistant Tyler Deck Shipley were among the first coaches to reach out to him.

He considered Cornell and Pitt, as well as Boston.

“Temple is a great school and was ranked high in the major I want to pursue (kinesiology and exercise science),” he said. “I loved the campus, the culture of team and the school itself.

“When I walked on campus for my visits and met the guys, it felt like a home away from home. I love the training philosophy Coach Snyder and Coach Shipley have.”

Fitch, who placed fourth in the WPIAL (16:16) and 11th in the PIAA (16:16.9) in cross country this season, hopes to propel the Owls to their first American Athletic Conference title and the NCAA Division I championship meet. They placed second to Tulsa in the conference championship this season.

“Individually, I want to contribute all four years — earn all-conference and all-region honors,” Fitch said. “I would love to win a conference title and be an All-American by the end of my time at Temple.

“I will focus on the goals one year at a time and adjust based on my development.”

Fox Chapel coach Tom Moul expects Fitch to thrive.

“He’s got a level of maturity beyond his age,” Moul said. “He’ll be fine with being away from home.

“Christian is looking forward to being on a team with other high-caliber runners. He’s been our top runner for four years (and) hasn’t really been in a situation where he’s had a mentor from older kids.”

Moul said Fitch has not had an equal partner for workout paces with the Foxes.

“He’ll benefit greatly from being around athletes of the same caliber,” Moul said.

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