Pine-Richland cross country teams impress at warm-up events

Sunday, October 22, 2017 | 7:27 PM

Just 12 days before the WPIAL cross country championships, the girls and boys squads at Pine-Richland participated in the ideal warm-up event: Slippery Rock University's Mack Cooper Invite held at Cooper's Lake, the same course that will host the WPIAL championships.

Although the WPIAL will alter the course ahead of its championship in order to preserve a fair competition, the Rams' results were encouraging nonetheless.

The boys finished sixth out of 22 teams with a point total of 201, and the girls grabbed a seventh-place finish out of 20 teams.

“Both the boys team and the girls team are progressing well. The sixth- and seventh-place finishes at Mack Cooper last weekend were good signs for where things are going,” Pine-Richland coach Ken Judson said.

“I think both teams have some upside going into the WPIAL championship next Thursday.”

One aspect of the teams' finishes at Mack Cooper that was even more impressive was the time of their spreads, which indicates the time that passes between the Rams' top finishing runner and their fifth and final finishing runner.

No other team at Mack Cooper managed a better spread time then the Pine-Richland boys (1 minutes, 4 seconds), and the girls also stood out with a top-five spread time (1:30).

“In a lot of ways, the fourth and fifth runners are just as important as the first, the second and the third runners,” Judson said.

“Their ability to stay close to the frontrunners reduces the point total that you accrue considerably. I'm always looking for that gap, and both teams are strong in that regard. That's something that we really want each runner to focus on, in addition to being relentlessly competitive for the entire duration of the race.”

At the upcoming WPIAL event, the Pine-Richland boys group will be composed of senior Mike Dolgos, junior Lucas Zak, junior Michael Olszewski, senior Seth Kornbau and junior Quinton Johnson.

The girls group will be junior Tresa Coon, junior Meghan McLoughlin, sophomore Sophia Olszewski, sophomore Judy Johnson and freshman Sophia Mellis.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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