Greensburg Salem cross country adjusts expectations after championship season

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Wednesday, September 29, 2021 | 9:48 AM


The reigning WPIAL Class 2A boys cross country champs have a nice little trend going.

Greensburg Salem has won three titles in the last five years — 2016, ’18 and ’20.

But 2021 — the odd year — might again be one that the Golden Lions will not be able to go back-to-back.

“We don’t really talk about it, especially this year,” coach Nathan Snider said. “We lost a couple of our main guys, and we’re not real deep. We have three really good guys, and a fourth guy that’s gotten a lot better. But we have a big drop-off after that.

“So, for this year specifically, we kind of know that’s not going to happen. So there’s no real sense in talking about it.”

That said, Snider has goals for the year that he feels could be attainable. Winning the section title, for starters, is one. Then they’ll assess their shot at qualifying for the PIAA championships and their chances at competing for individual or team medals.

Aaron Tressler, who finished 40th in the WPIAL championships in his first season with the program a year ago, has gone from the team’s fifth runner to the top spot.

“He’s coming off a really good track season, and has really improved,” Snider said.

Tressler is joined at the front of the pack by Charles Johnson, who has been working through an injury through the first half of the season, and Jake Smith, also a baseball player at Greensburg Salem.

“The three of them, they’re pretty tough,” Snider added. “They’re really what’s carried us through the section. They’ve gone 1-2-3 in every meet so far. You can’t lose if you go 1-2-3.”

Matt Kaboly has added depth as the fourth runner, while some young athletes are competing for the fifth spot.

Regardless of who has what spot, Greensburg Salem’s boys runners know they have big shoes to fill in continuing the legacy of the program.

“We’ve just got good, hard-working kids,” Snider said. “You have kids graduate, and the next group comes in and they want to have the same experiences. So they’re constantly trying to win.”

As for the girls team, the Golden Lions want to grow from an 11th-place finish in the district finals last year.

“We have a great core group and they’re all really close together,” said Snider.

Natalie DiCriscio has started slow, according to Snider, but has shown the potential to come up big for the team after placing eighth at WPIALs last season.

“If she can continue to progress, that will help our team,” Snider added. “She’s had some good races in the last couple of meets.”

Lilly Kosoglow and Hannah Messer are a pair of seniors who have provided depth to the lineup, as has sophomore Ashlam Price and freshman Regan Kerr.

“That core group’s a little too slow to advance to a state meet or win the section, but it’s a nice group,” Snider said. “We have some encouraging people moving forward after this season. They’ve done a great job with the talent they have.”

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