Penn Hills runner shows progress with showing at WPIAL cross country meet

Sunday, November 13, 2022 | 11:01 AM

Lee Zelkowitz could see that Sawyer Kinney’s performance was climbing in the weeks leading up to the WPIAL Class 3A cross country championships. The Penn Hills junior had made major progress this season and seemed to be figuring things out.

“He had a lot of good practices and intervals leading up to the WPIAL race,” Zelkowitz said. “At WPIALs, he ran an aggressive but smart race.”

Kinnney finished the race at Cal (Pa.) in 18 minutes, 7 seconds to finish as the top Penn Hills runner. As a team, the Indians’ boys side finished in 20th place, having two runners finish in the top 100.

Senior runner Austin Stuchul finished in 69th with a time of 18:32. Kinney, who started running as something to do with his dad, has made big strides during his junior season.

Outside of track season, Kinney competes in 5Ks and other events to help stay sharp. Zelkowitz said Kinney showed with his performance at WPIALs that there is potential for more growth as a senior.

“I always say that you don’t know until you know,” Zelkowitz said. “Until you go out and do something, you don’t understand you can do it. Sawyer stepped up and ran a strong race.”

The Indians girls team placed 30th. Mylah Faulk led Penn Hills by placing 153rd with a time of 24:54. Larissa Lockridge finished in 167th with a time of 25:39.

Zelkowitz said he was proud of how both teams did this season. Penn Hills is now taking a short break before the start of indoor season.

Zelkowitz said he wants to challenge all the athletes during the indoor season to help prepare them to challenge for a spot in the state championships in May.

“We want to use the winter to build mileage and do some things that people weren’t comfortable with,” Zelkowitz said. “We will probably work with speed on Sawyer this winter. We want to use indoor season to work toward outdoor.”


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