Norwin coach calls Red, White and Blue Invitational a good early season test

Thursday, September 5, 2019 | 7:50 PM

Norwin cross country coach Brian Fleckenstein is looking forward to the Red, White and Blue Invitational on Saturday at Schenley Park.

It’s an early season meet that features some of the top teams in the WPIAL, West Virginia and Ohio and gives coaches a chance to see how their teams match up.

“We have a chance to be pretty good and I definitely want to see where we stand against North Allegheny and Mt. Lebanon,” Fleckenstein said. “It’s a good early season test.

“We’ll find out how we match up and where we have to improve. Our goal is to finish top three at the end of the season. It’s a good early season race.”

Norwin is one of eight teams from Westmoreland County competing in a meet that includes more than 80 teams. The other county teams competing include Belle Vernon, Franklin Regional, Greensburg Salem, Hempfield, Kiski Area, Kiski Prep and Penn-Trafford.

Two teams that competed in 2018 that are not this season are Greensburg Central Catholic, which is off, and Latrobe, which is headed west to Tiffin.

Latrobe coach Todd Simpson said he likes to take his team on an overnight trip. They ran at Tiffin four years ago.

The returning boys team champions are North Allegheny (Class AAA) and Greensburg Salem (AA/A). The girls champions are North Allegheny (Class AAA) and Vincentian (AA/A).

North Allegheny’s Zachary Kline was the 2018 Class AAA winner. The graduating senior edged three then-juniors — North Allegheny’s Daniel McGoey, Fox Chapel’s Christian Fitch and Mt. Lebanon’s Patrick Anderson, who ended up the PIAA Class AAA champion.

Norwin’s Dominic Spatolisano finished 21st and junior Alex Jubert, who missed the 2018 with an injury, are looking for top 10 finishes.

Greensburg Salem graduated Class AA/A champion Mark Brown and the Binda brothers — Dylan and Cameron. But the Golden Lions do return Quintin Gatons and Mason Jobe from the WPIAL and PIAA Class AA championship team. The Golden Lions won the Class AA/A team title also.

Blackhawk’s Jack Aulbach, who placed third, Quaker Valley’s Daniel Ford, who finished fourth, and a trio of Ringgold runners are favored in the Class AA/A race.

The returning girls champions are Oakland Catholic’s Hannah Schupansky (Class AAA) and Quaker Valley’s Annie Wicker (Class AA/A).

North Allegheny’s Hannah Lindgren is the top returning finisher from 2018. She placed third.

Wicker is the only returning individual champion. Belle Vernon’s Grace Henderson, who placed fourth, is also back.

“We have a young girls team,” Fleckenstein said. “We lost a lot on the girls side and we didn’t do well in the first meet.

“It’s always tough and good to see how you stand and definitely good to see where are at against NA and ML.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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