Norwin cross country teams face big test at Red, White and Blue Invitational

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Thursday, September 6, 2018 | 7:45 PM


Norwin cross country coach Brian Fleckenstein will learn a lot about his teams Saturday at the Red, White and Blue Invitational at Schenley Park.

He said it will be a great opportunity to see how his runners stack up against some of the top teams in the WPIAL.

Fleckenstein was encouraged by what he saw from his team at the Gateway Invitational on Sept. 1. The boys finished second to Fox Chapel, and the girls ended up third behind Fox Chapel and Pine-Richland.

“Class AAA is loaded with senior talent this year,” Fleckenstein said. “I’m eager to see how my young boys do against some of the top teams.”

The Norwin boys are stacked with juniors, led by Dominic Spatolisano, who placed second at Gateway. The other top juniors include Nicholas Shavel, Harrison Barnett and Jacob Tarosky. Sophomore Alex Jubert missed the Gateway race because he’s dealing with a stress fracture.

“We hope to get Alex back later in the season,” Fleckenstein said. “He would have made a difference at Gateway. I’m not sure if we would have won, but it would be closer.

“The boys had good summer training. They put in a lot of miles, and hopefully it pays off.”

Norwin is in the same section as Greensburg Salem, which edged the Knights by a point a year ago. The Golden Lions return another strong team, and Fleckenstein is looking forward to the section battle Sept. 18 at Hempfield.

Greensburg Salem (Class AA) has a lot of good runners,” Fleckenstein said. “It’s going to be a close battle for sure.”

The girls are led by senior Courtney Kosanovic, who placed eighth at Gateway. Freshman Triniti Joy was the second Norwin runner to cross the finish line. She placed 20 th overall, but Fleckenstein is eager to watch her grow.

The other seniors expected to contribute are Katelyn Plassio, Julia Fasiczka, Caitlyn Kosanovic and Fiona Cuthbert. Junior Madison Pesi will also be in the mix.

Courtney Kosanovic is a two-time PIAA qualifier. She missed out going for a third time because of an injury at WPIALs.

“We have a good mix on the girls,” Fleckenstein said. “They all ran well at Gateway.”

Fleckenstein has a large squad, 50 on the varsity and 75 on the middle school team.

“We’re going to be tested this weekend,” Fleckenstein said. “We’ll be seeing the top 5 teams. I’m just looking for improvement the entire season.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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