Kiski Area cross country teams set goal of improving as season progresses
Wednesday, September 15, 2021 | 10:36 AM
Kiski Area coach Tom Berzonsky advocates a fundamental approach to the 2021 cross country season for his runners.
Improvement is the key word.
“Our top goal is to consistently improve throughout the season,” said Berzonsky, now in his third decade as the Cavaliers’ coach. “Our girls team returns six of our top seven, so we feel we are competitive. The boys are young but have done very well in the first two meets (a scrimmage against Freeport and at the Gateway Invitational).”
Kiski Area’s girls squad placed third with 86 points at the season-opening Gateway Invitational on Sept. 4 at Boyce Park, trailing Fox Chapel (33) and Baldwin (67).
KA senior Lizeth Sesmas logged a 23 minutes, 32.42 seconds to take fourth place in the girls race. Josette Plazio, also a senior, was 12th (24:49.44).
Sesmas and Plazio, along with sophomore Tatiana Holt, were cited as Alle-Kiski cross country all-stars last season.
KA’s Eliza Miller was named the Alle-Kiski girls runner of the year as a freshman a year ago. She placed fifth at the WPIAL Class AAA championship meet.
“Eliza Miller is a great competitor and a great teammate,” Berzonsky said. “She trains very hard in practice and also pushes her teammates. She is a competitive swimmer and swims year round. This helps her as a runner. She is very strong.
“Eliza hopes to challenge for a high finish at WPIALs and states. Josie Plazio and Lizeth Sesmas should also challenge for a high WPIAL finish.”
Other competitors for the Kiski Area girls team at the Gateway invite included freshmen Taylor Roland (26:10.22), Gianna Wray (26:41.98) and Amara Sterlitz (26:58.47), sophomore Ellie Hecker (26:23.55) and junior Olivia Schrag (26:54.81). All were top-30 finishers.
In the boys division, the Cavaliers reeled in fourth place with a 120-point total, as Fox Chapel (45), Riverview (64) and Baldwin (116) secured the top three spots.
Sophomore Paul Roberts paced the Kiski Area boys with a 19:36.97 effort, good for 12th place in the individual results.
Other leading runners for KA included a freshman, Justin Tucker, and two seniors, Antonio Giordano and Phil Miller, who locked up 22nd, 28th and 29th with times of 20:10.38, 20:35.31 and 20:26.
Sophomores Hunter Heinack (20:32.6) and Wyatt Krough (21:14.3) and junior Zachary George (20:32.67) also were KA participants at the Gateway event.
“Justin Tucker, our No. 2 runner at Gateway, has been a pleasant surprise as a freshman,” Berzonsky said.
The Cavaliers’ second big meet of the season was the Red, White and Blue event Sept. 11 at White Oak Park.
The Kiski Area girls competed in the Class AAA varsity race and ended up 18th overall.
The Kiski Area boys, also competing at the AAA varsity level, corralled 15th place.
The Cavaliers will host the fifth annual Kiski Cavalier/Saucony and Gingerbread Man Running Company XC Invitational, featuring more than 20 teams, on Sept. 17 at Northmoreland Park in Westmoreland County.
Tags: Kiski Area
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