Norwin cross country falls just short of team goal

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Friday, November 1, 2019 | 6:37 PM


Norwin cross country coach Brian Fleckenstein knew it would take a great effort from his boys team to qualify for the PIAA cross country championship Nov. 2.

The Knights needed to run their best even to have a shot at the top three, but they came up short and finished seventh in a tight race at the WPIAL championships Oct. 24 at Cal (Pa.).

The only Norwin runner to earn a trip to Hershey was junior Alex Jubert. He placed 17th, finshing in 17 minutes, 16 seconds. Senior teammate Jacob Tarosky just missed advancing. He finished 28th, running a 17:30.

“I’m happy for Alex,” Fleckenstein said. “He’s had a tough season recovering from injuries. He’s really getting back into it. Jacob also ran a good race, but he just missed placing.”

But Fleckenstein had high hopes for the boys in the highly competitive team race, but the team didn’t run at its best.

“There were a couple runners that fell back,” Fleckenstein said. “Even if we would have run our best as a team, we probably would have only jumped a few spots. There were a lot of good teams.”

One of the races Jubert was able to compete in was the PIAA Foundation race in September in Hershey. He ran a 16:59, and Fleckenstein said breaking the 17-minute was the goal at states.

The other Norwin runners competing were senior Nicholas Shavel (41st, 18:04), senior Dominic Spatolisano (65th, 18:28), sophomore Luke Weyandt (76th, 18:34), senior Dominic DeMaro (96th, 18:58) and junior John Dodaro (101st, 19:02).

“The future looks strong,” Fleckenstein said. “We had a strong middle school team and we have some good underclassmen.”

The girls team is a rebuilding year. They finished 14th overall.

The girls who competed were: senior Katelyn Plassio (52nd, 21:58), senior Allison Plassio (81st, 22:48), sophomore Triniti Joy (82nd, 22;48), sophomore Madison Butina (87th, 22:55), senior Madison Pesi (94th, 22:59), sophomore Alexandra Walton (119th, 23.30) and sophomore Katherine Dansak (145th, 24:39).

“We had great leadership from our seniors,” Fleckenstein said. “The trio helped the sophomores along. Even though the results don’t show it, there was definite improvement during the season.”

The boys won the section and Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association titles. Those were two goals that were met.

Now Fleckenstein is focused on the upcoming indoor track season and the spring season.

He just hopes that he doesn’t lose many middle school runners to other sports before next season. If he’s able to retain the runners, something special could be brewing at Norwin.

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

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