Shady Side Academy sends pair of boys runners to PIAA meet

Friday, November 2, 2018 | 8:30 PM

The Shady Side Academy boys cross country team recently completed its season with a fifth-place finish at the WPIAL championships. The first four teams qualified for the PIAA meet.

“We peaked at the WPIALs,” SSA coach Paul Ejzak said. “The boys ran their best times and came within a gnat’s eyelash of qualifying as a team for the PIAA championships.”

Senior Leo Liu, who finished 14th, and sophomore Adam Lauer, who came in 20th, paced the Indians and both qualified for the PIAA championships.

The Indians finished with an 8-3 overall record and were 7-3 in Section 4. The section consisted of five Class A teams in SSA, Riverview, Ellis, Greensburg Central Catholic and Geibel. The Class 2A teams in the section were Burrell, Deer Lakes, Freeport, Highlands and Knoch.

Ezjak will lose five seniors from this team. Along with Liu, captains Brendan McLaughlin and Connor Caputo, Jonathan Hung and Matteo Secomandi will graduate. Key returnees are Lauer, sophomore Cameron Casey and freshman Thompson Lau. Ejzak is also expecting contributions from JV runners Reshub Bahri and Aniket Kumta, both juniors.

The Indians competed in the Tri-State Coaches Association Invitational a week before the WPIALs and finished second. Ejzak felt that was a big stepping stone for the strong WPIAL performance.

“The way we ran in that meet inspired us and made us think about what we could do at the WPIALs,” he said.

Marty Stewart is a freelance writer.


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