With revamped roster, SSA ready to run

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Friday, September 13, 2019 | 6:52 PM


Despite losing four of his top seven runners to graduation, cross country coach Paul Ejzak is hopeful Shady Side Academy will have a solid season.

Last year, the team finished with an 8-3 record and claimed fifth place in the WPIAL championships.

“The leadership of our co-captains, Alex Reuter and Aniket Kumta, sets a great tone,” Ejzak said. “The work ethic and commitment starts with them.”

In addition to Reuter and Kumta, other returning starters include seniors Cameron Casey and Reshub Bahri, junior Adam Lauer and sophomore Thompson Lau.

Senior letterwinner Ahmer Shaikh also returns.

“We also have some promising newcomers in senior Andrew Fergus, sophomore Daniel Lee and freshmen J.P. Henry and Ethan Salvia,” Ejzak said.

“Lauer will be out front again, giving us a PIAA qualifier as our No. 1 runner. Behind him, we have a developing pack. Lau looks like he can pick up right where he left off after a promising freshman year. Casey is rehabbing a knee injury, but hopefully he will be able to contribute later this season. Bahri has had a great preseason. The nice surprise of preseason has been the addition of our freshman runners, Henry and Salvia, sophomore Lee, and new senior Fergus.”

Ejzak’s main concern is the relative youth of his team, but he feels they will come along quickly.

“All that is green must grow,” he said.

The Indians will be competing in Class A and will be in Section 4, a combination of AA and A teams. The AA teams in the section are Burrell, Deer Lakes, Freeport, Highlands and Knoch.

The A teams are Geibel, Greensburg Central Catholic, Redeemer Lutheran/Ellis, Riverview and Southmoreland.

“Riverview and Winchester Thurston (Section 5-A) always come back strong, and I have a lot of respect for their coaches,” Ejzak said. “With hard work and daily commitment, I think we can be in the mix when the fall winds blow.”

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