Westmoreland County Senior Spotlight: Hempfield’s Cydney Blahovec

Monday, September 26, 2022 | 12:02 PM

In most sports, a span of five seconds isn’t that big of a deal, unless it’s right before the buzzer.

In cross country, five seconds could mean a 10-place difference or more.

That was exactly the case for Hempfield senior Cydney Blahovec and her performances in the Red, White & Blue Invitational the past two years.

Last year, Blahovec finished in 45th place with a time of 19:58. This year, she jumped 13 places to 32nd with a time of 19:53. For her, she definitely takes pride in that time difference.

“I think that five seconds is a pretty big deal, especially on that course (White Oak Park in Baldwin). That course is one of the flatter courses,” Blahovec said. “I think I did improve from last year because I went out with the first pack instead of sitting back and watching them go out.”

Blahovec’s Hempfield teammate, Alicia Weimer, finished just ahead of her in 31st place. Blahovec explained why their close proximity in placement was not a coincidence.

“Usually for races, I try to stick with Alicia so that she pushes me to do my best in the race,” Blahovec said. “At the end, when I started kicking it in, I started getting closer to her. It was on purpose.”

As a team, Hempfield also performed well, placing sixth out of 33 teams.

“It definitely gives us a good grasp on how we’re going to do at the WPIAL meet,” Blahovec. “Not that what we do now is what we’re going to do at the WPIAL meet, but I think it gives us an idea of what we might get.”

Blahovec also runs for the track team, winning the 800-meter race and finishing third in the 400 at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association meet last season.

Blahovec plans on going to Duquesne to major in nursing and might run there, as well.

This week, Blahovec took some time for a Senior Spotlight Q-and-A:

How did you get started with cross country?

I wanted to do track my seventh-grade year. Then one of the coaches talked to me about it because they were saying how it would get me in shape. I started in eighth grade — the same goes with track — and then I just continued with it.

What do you feel like your biggest strength is in cross country?

I am definitely more of a speed person. Whenever I see someone in the last 400 of the race, I definitely have a kick. I will try my hardest and out-kick them and beat them at the end.

Is there an area where you could improve?

I usually hit a mental block around the mile marker. I’ve been working on trying to not have that happen. Especially like how Alicia and I try to stick together, that’s normally when I back off on her and slow myself down.

What differences are there between track and cross country and also between shorter races such as the 400 and long races such as in cross country?

During cross country, I usually do more of the longer-distance stuff during practices. We’ll go out, like today, we did 6 miles. Then, every other day we do a speed workout, where we’ll do a variety of things just to get us going faster on our runs. There will be shorter distances that we have to run. In track, the practices, we usually stay on the track. We do more of the shorter distances, more of the speed work. We usually don’t go for mileage. The meets are different because, during track, I usually run four different events, whereas during cross country, you do 3 miles, and then you’re done.

What is one thing that people may not know about you?

I am a triplet. I have a brother and a sister (Benjamin and Abigail) that are my triplets with me.


More Cross Country

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Chelsea Hartman sets pace for Shady Side Academy cross country team’s special season
Westmoreland County Senior Spotlight: Greensburg Salem’s Aaron Tressler
Freeport cross country coach Melissa Schaeffer inducted into Carnegie Mellon Hall of Fame
Gateway’s Kefimba Cisse strong cross country season comes to close at PIAA meet