Franklin Regional cross country training to improve on ’16 finish

Monday, September 11, 2017 | 11:00 PM

The Franklin Regional boys cross country team will be looking to build and improve after finishing 16th of 33 teams last season at the WPIAL Class AAA championship. The girls finished 18th of 32 teams.

“We lost a WPIAL champion from last year in Mark Provenzo, who is irreplaceable, but we have guys that can very well step up and are confident in,” coach Jim Passarelli said. “We have a strong 1-2 with seniors Matt Busche and Hunter Fishell, who have a lot of experience and are ready to go.”

Right now the focus for the Panthers is training and improving on what they accomplished last year.

“We came in with a different approach in training, individualizing the plan to best suit each runner,” Passarelli said. “We are trying to make every runner better by adjusting to what they are capable of accomplishing.”

“A lot of us run track, so we have continuously kept in shape year round,” Fishell said. “We have done a lot of training, conditioning, speed work, core work and everything in between. As long as we can prevent any injuries, I think we will be in good shape.”

With four juniors returning, Franklin Regional will rely on experience to help guide the team this year.

“We want to be able to build on our experiences from last year,” Passarelli said. “We have a strong core of guys coming back this year that placed well last year, and we expect them to be even better this year.”

“A lot of us work at a similar pace, so we are always close together, which always helps,” Fishell said. “When we are close together, it makes us push each other to pick it up even more. We have great chemistry together.”

Fishell had high praise for former teammate Provenzo. He understood what he brought to the team and wants to help continue that senior leadership. To do that, he wants to continue to work hard and bring his times down to help his placing and be more consistent.

Passarelli and his team are on the same page when it comes to the goals and expectations for the season.

“Right now, we are focused on winning the section,” Passarelli said. “We know we are in a tough section, but we are confident in what we have.”

“First of all, we want to stay healthy,” Fishell said. “But the focus is always on winning the section and county. We know it will not be easy, but we expect nothing less.”

The season was set to begin Tuesday with a home meeting against Hempfield.

Cody Scott is a freelance writer.


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