Bellefonte: Expectations are high for Cross Country
BELLEFONTE — No sport tests an athlete’s stamina and mental toughness as accurately as cross country does. High School runners spend the bulk of their summer training for the fall season, and Bellefonte’s cross country athletes are no different.
“I held non-mandatory team runs three times a week, starting mid-June and finishing the first week of August,” Bellefonte cross country coach Carla Cipro said. “We had a group of regulars that came and the endurance that they built up has really helped them during this first week of practice.
“The runners are very excited to begin racing. Our first meet is the Bear Mountain River Run at Lock Haven University on September 1, and the runners always look forward to this meet because they usually get a very fast time.”
Bellefonte retained six letter winners: Austin Melius and Harrison Herr returns for the boys, while Sadie Belsky, Katey Morgante, Maya O’Shea and Amaya Rothrock return for the girls.
“All six runners should have a major impact this year on their respective teams,” Cipro said.
Cipro believes both the girls and boys teams display impressive talent.
“On the girls’ side, we have many returning letter winners and more racing experience than last year,” Cipro said. “I think that with the combination of that, and the new runners joining the team, that the team will be very competitive this year.”
“On the boys’ side, we have a young team, but a lot of potential. I think that they will feed off of each other and will race well as a pack. I’m looking forward to see how they compete.”
A possible area for concern is the team’s youthfulness. They’re rather inexperienced, so there will be growing pains, but Cipro expects them to battle through it and show progress, which is the team’s motto entering the new year.
“Both teams are young,” Cipro explained. “But two years ago, Bellefonte only had one girl, now we are up to eight girls on the roster. On the boys’ side, there is one senior and only one junior. All of the runners are excited to prove themselves and positions 1-7 are open to anyone. I think you will see much progress between now and mid-October.”
Despite being filled with underclassmen, the cross country team has big goals.
“I think both teams have high expectations,” Cipro said. “They want to place high in the Mountain League Championship and District 6 Championship meets. I also think that they expect at least one to two runners will make it to the State Championship meet again.”
Bellefonte Cross Country
Head Coach: Carla Cipro
League: Mountain League
Seniors: Zeb Smoyer.
Juniors: Colton Clark.
Sophomores: Matthew Connelly, Jonathan Decker, Harrison Herr, Austin Melius and Daryel Srickles.
Freshmen: Eric Bennett, Aaron Carlini, Hunter Lucas, Daniel Mussett and Dillon Sette.
Seniors: Clarissa Haak and Katheryn Morgante.
Juniors: Amber Shirley and Maya O’Shea.
Sophomores: Sadie Belsky and Alyssa Bickle and Amaya Rothrock.
Freshmen: Mia Elmore