As the temperatures cool off and the leaves begin to change, Avonworth’s cross country teams have kick-started their season. Just in the first meet, two seniors led the way. Boys placed first, with Ben Monti in the lead at 19:16. Girls placed second, with Lindsey Hartle leading with 21:04 as her time.
Lindsey was also very successful at the Red White and Blue Invitational on the 10th and 11th of this month, coming in first for the 1A Girls 5000 meter with a time of 21:03. “I had no expectations going into it.” said Hartle. “I just knew I had people to run against, and when I was up front early in the race that’s when I realized I could win it.”
Both teams enter 2021-2022 after a number of prior seasons with highly competitive, highly successful WPIAL accomplishments. Senior David Kujawinski notes that the team is “Definitely not as strong as last year”, but is hopeful that there is still a “shot to be successful”. This year’s roster has increased in number by just over 10, at 39 students. This can be “indicative of some of the success that we’ve had overall”, reveals Avonworth’s Athletic Director, Andrea Patton.
In addition to new runners, there have also been changes to the coaching staff. Jennifer Tracy, a teacher in the science department at the high school, has been appointed the assistant coach of the varsity team. Ms. Patton also touches on this change, saying that “As a teacher, she has a lot of skills that bleed and pair well with the coaching realm… she’s been a really great addition and I think it’s been a lot of fun for her”.
All in all, the team is off to a great start despite losing some talent over the last couple of years. While transitioning between seasons may be a challenge, there still remains a very strong senior core, and an increase in runners along with the addition of a coach speak well for the future of the program.
Additional Reporting from Haley Dexter