Shaler runners savor PIAA cross country experience

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Thursday, November 7, 2019 | 8:08 PM


Shaler Area sophomore runner Tyler Paszkowski was happy to have an opportunity to run in the PIAA Class AAA cross country championships earlier this month in Hershey.

For the first-time state qualifier, it was an opportunity for him to take everything in. One thing that stood out was the speed.

Blink and the race is over.

“I feel like I handled the nerves well,” Paszkowski said. “Off the start, it was crazy. It was so fast. It was cool those were the top guys in the state and I was up there with them.”

Paszkowski finished nearly 45 seconds faster than at the Foundation Meet at the same course earlier in the season and placed 109th, finishing in 17 minutes, 13.80 seconds. Shaler senior Dalton Kalbaugh, who was running at the event for the second time, placed 96th with a time of 17:08.50.

On the girls’ side, Titans sophomore runner Samantha Hennen finished the race in 20:28 to place 110th.

“I thought we did pretty well,” Titans coach Justin Eskra said. “Everyone ran faster than last year at states or at the foundation meet. The AAA boys race was extremely fast. It was a brutal race.”

On the boys’ side, Shaler saw a pair of WPIAL runners finish one-two. Mt. Lebanon’s Patrick Anderson and North Allegheny’s Daniel McGoey finished first and second.

Eskra was proud of how Shaler competed in the conditions. Kalbaugh helped set the tempo for the team throughout the year.

“Dalton set a good example for those two guys (Ryan Paras and Paszkowski),” Eskra said. “Mentally, they were ready for any type of race. Dalton was tough and able to push through any mental blocks.”

Paszkowski is excited to continue to try and continue building on the foundation this team laid.

He plans to come during the indoor season and do distance in the spring. He’s already zeroed in on the areas where he is deficient.

“I need to do more hills,” Paszkowski said. “Hills were my struggle this year. I wasn’t as strong as runners for other teams on the hills.”

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