With help of senior captain, Shady Side Academy girls cross country has strong season

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Friday, November 1, 2019 | 6:37 PM


The Shady Side Academy girls cross country team recently concluded its season with a 9-2 overall record that included a 7-2 section mark. The team also finished eighth out of 19 schools at the WPIAL championships.

The lone senior on the squad was captain Juliana Bem.

“She was invaluable to the team,” coach Sue Whitney said. “Juliana was our lone captain, the first time in my coaching career that one senior has led the team. She led with enthusiasm, poise and sensitivity to each teammate’s individual needs.

“Throughout Juliana’s four-year cross country career, she ran with a sense of purpose and pride. She was training harder each successive summer in order to enjoy unparalleled success the subsequent fall. I am indebted to Juliana for her legacy of leadership, passion for her team first approach to cross country, and her unwavering support for every member of the team. Her teammates adore and admire her, as do I. She will be missed.”

Whitney was also pleased with the improvement of several underclassmen.

She pointed out the efforts of Karen Mendoza, a sophomore who consistently performed at the first- or second-place level at every meet, along with sophomore Emma Lammert and junior Caroline Green.

“Emma used her extensive running background and summer training to emerge as one of our most consistent performers,” Whitney said. “Caroline enjoyed a dramatic improvement over last fall, when she was chronically injured. She ran in almost every meet, and was clearly our most improved runner. Both of these girls realize the benefits of running over the summer and have committed to that for next summer.”

Whitney added that she was impressed with the consistency of Maevis Rosengart and Ariella Avigad, both WPIAL qualifiers for the second season in a row. She also had praise for a trio of freshmen.

“Emily Michaelson, Emma and Ella Gardner gained a lot of experience this fall and should return to the team next fall with a greater sense of purpose and expectation,” she said.

Whitney said newcomer Whitney McVeagh, a junior who ran with the team last year in practice, competed this season with enthusiasm and determination and could be a top seven runner for Shady Side by next season’s WPIAL meet.

“Once again, this season brought great joy, excitement and fun to each participant of the girls team,” Whitney said. “We pride ourselves on working hard, celebrating everyone’s achievements, big or small, and putting team above self. Coaching girls cross country over the years has always been a joy, and never more so than this fall. I thank the girls, the SSA athletic staff, and most especially the parents of the kids for their unwavering and unconditional support.”

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