North Allegheny cross country runner Kinne chooses Duke

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Thursday, November 15, 2018 | 9:21 PM


North Allegheny cross country senior Zachary Kinne put so much into figuring out where he wanted to continue his career, he made himself sick.

Kinne signed a letter of intent to the Duke men’s team for the 2019-20 season Nov. 14.

“I finished my application for early decision on Nov. 1 and finally finished the college process,” Kinne said. “All of this in addition to months of rigorous work and traveling led to my being exhausted going into the WPIAL (championship) race, and my body gave out.

“I passed out after the race and was taken to the hospital.”

Kinne, who moved to the district from a Chicago suburb before the season after his father joined the UPMC Health Plan Leadership Team, placed eighth in Class AAA (16 minutes, 50 seconds) on Oct. 25 at Cal (Pa.). He helped the Tigers to their 11th WPIAL title in 13 seasons and their first since 2015.

He earned a silver medal at the PIAA championship meet Nov. 3 in Hershey (16:07), leading the Tigers to their first crown since 2014.

He expects to be among favorites competing for the Tigers at the Nike Cross Regionals Northeast meet Nov. 24 in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. Top finishers will advance to the Nike Cross Nationals on Dec. 1 in Portland, Ore.

Kinne came in 67th of 195 running for Naperville, Ill. at 2016 nationals (16:35.2).

Kinne said Duke was the perfect fit academically and athletically. The Blue Devils placed eighth of 15 at the ACC championship this season.

“I knew I wanted to run (in Division I), and be able to earn a sizable scholarship for my running because of the time and effort I’ve put into it for nearly a decade,” he said. “I put into the mix my desire to study engineering at a highly ranked institution.

“That’s where Duke initially got on my radar. After a successful visit in mid-August, I felt very good about the possibility of going there.”

He considered Notre Dame, Miami (Ohio), Michigan and Louisiana State.

North Allegheny coach John Neff expects him to do well.

“(There are) other runners (and) facilities to help him,” Neff said.

Kinne is the second Tiger to commit to Duke in two years.

Clara Savchik is a freshman on the women’s team.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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