Pine-Richland runners finding their pace

Friday, September 21, 2018 | 8:12 PM

Although their WPIAL Class AAA Section 3A results may not provide the evidence just yet, the Pine-Richland boys and girls cross country teams both appear to be on the rise this season.

With a handful of section meets behind them, the Rams girls team (2-2), in particular, is performing at a high level. Besides a pair of wins against Hampton and Butler, and a couple of narrow losses to highly-ranked squads from North Allegheny and Seneca Valley, the Pine-Richland girls also claimed first place in Class AAA at the Kiski Area Invitational held Sept. 15.

“We were the first triple-A team and finished second overall to Central Cambria, which is a double-A team. I would say they are running well. It seems like everybody is ignoring us, but I’d consider us to be a contender,” Pine-Richland coach Chaz Connolly said.

“Most of our top-10 runners for the girls weren’t even on the team last year. We only have one runner in our top 10 that has been here all four years. I think they’re all still improving as things go on.”

The top runner for the girls team is freshman Meredith Price, who moved to Pine Township from Indiana, Pa. Another transplant, sophomore Leah Kilgore is clocking in as the team’s second fastest runner. Behind the two newcomers, freshman Stella Fannie, senior Tresa Coon, senior Meghan McLoughlin, and junior Annabelle Nielsen round out the girls’ top-six runners.

Although the girls have seen stronger results when it comes to the win/loss column thus far, the boys team seems to be picking up its pace, as well.

Leading the way has been sophomore Victor Williams. Last season, in his freshman year, Williams was a member of the team. However, the difference between his running times from last season to this one is almost night and day, according to Connolly.

“He’s surprising everyone. He’s really, really dropping his times, and it’s been a pleasant surprise. He was on the team last year, but he didn’t perform at this great level,” Connolly said.

“This year, though, he’s really turned it on. He’s been working hard through our usual training sessions but most of all, he’s just physically maturing and becoming a lot stronger for us out there.”

Behind Williams, a pair of seniors, Andrew Gallogly and Luke Zak, are finishing in second and third place for the boys team. Gallogly is still becoming stronger and stronger on the course as he recovers from a history of back injuries. Zak is also rounding into form as he recovers from a virus that ailed him throughout the course of the summer.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.


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