Hempfield cross country program is a family affair

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 | 8:15 PM

When the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association cross country meet is run Wednesday, it will be a family affair for the Hempfield program.

Actually, it’s a family affair every time for the Spartans. That’s because there are six sets of brothers and sisters on the squad.

There are the Blahovec triplets — Abigail and Cydney run cross country, and Ben plays football and is on the track team. Then you have the Doughertys (Margerette and Noelle), the Methvens (Alan and Harrison), the Sniders (Luke and Julia), the Millers (Tyler and Tessa) and the Swopes (Colin and Tatum).

Not all of the brothers and sisters are on varsity. Some also compete for the junior varsity team.

“It’s been interesting. Cross country seems to be a family thing that gets passed down over the seasons,” Hempfield coach Jeff Mayo said. “I’ve had family members run before, but not six. It takes a special type of child to run distance.”

Mayo’s teams finished second to Norwin in the section. The boys tied the Knights, 28-28, but lost in tiebreaker. He said he hopes his teams can reverse those losses at the county meet, which begins with the boys at 3 p.m. at Westmoreland County Community College. The girls begin at 3:40 p.m.

Hempfield’s Owen DeMatt has the lowest time (16 minutes, 40 seconds) coming into the meet. Greensburg Central Catholic’s Nick Szekely follows with a 16:43, and DeMatt’s teammate Antonio Tuttoilmondo is third at 17:03, a second ahead of Norwin’s Andres Breauchy at 17:04.

The top girl is returning champion Eliza Miller of Kiski Area. Her best time is 18:08.30. Norwin’s Annie Czajkowski is next at 18:57, followed by Penn-Trafford’s Amelia Barilla (19:31.5) and Latrobe’s Emerson Skatell (19:34.05).

Hempfield’s Alicia Weimer (19:49) is fifth, and Cydney Blahovec (19:51.22) is sixth.

“I expect Kiski Area to be strong along with Norwin,” Mayo said. “There are a lot of good runners in the field.”

Penn-Trafford sophomore Jacob McGhee placed third in 2021, DeMatt placed fifth, Franklin Regional senior Andrew Moore was seventh, Greensburg Salem senior Aaron Tressler finished eighth, Norwin’s junior Noah Wilson was ninth and Szekely was 10th.

Miller is the returning champion, Barilla placed third, Skatell was fourth, Derry sophomore Jane Hess was sixth, Franklin Regional senior Paityn Blakely was seventh and Norwin junior Audra Fedor was 10th.

Others to watch include: Cydney Blahovec, who was 11th, Southmoreland sophomore Lexi Ohler (12th), Latrobe junior Clara Herr (13th), Latrobe sophomore Carley Berk (14th) and Norwin senior Anna DeFazio (15th).

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.


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