Seneca’s Men’s Cross Country Team Takes Fourth at States

Ben Snell, Staff Writer

This past weekend, the Seneca Valley men’s cross country team beat out sixty other schools to finish fourth in Pennsylvania.

The Men’s team ran in the AAA race against nineteen of the sixty schools. The remainder of teams either ran in the A or AA races. There were 239 AAA racers, although some of them were runners who had qualified as individuals instead of with their team. In total, Pennsylvania has over fifteen-hundred cross country teams.

Throughout the season, the Cross Country team has been working hard to reach their goals at states. They went undefeated in their section (8-0), beating rivals like North Allegheny and Butler. The team then capped of the season with a WPIAL championship on October 7 and then the success at States.

The WPIAL championship was the, “motivation to continuously get better and be where we needed to be to win,” according to Varsity runner Luke Bellack. “Once we got past that, our success at States was sort of  a bonus opportunity.”

The team is led by their experienced head coach, Steven Strelick, and assistant coach, Justin Dosch. Strelick is an eighth grade science teacher at Seneca Middle School. He’s been coaching cross country for about five years and is a veteran track coach. Dosch is a big runner and even frequently runs with his team.

When asked about his coaches, Varsity runner Patrick Inman said, “Our success is largely in part to our terrific coaches. These two have provided us with an opportunity to do something special this year, and we are grateful. Without their support and their coaching, it would have been tough to win sections this year.”

An aspect that had a major impact on the team’s success was the values each runner had on one another. This is immediately evident when talking to the individuals of the team and seeing just how much they mean to each other.

“Each and every runner on this team, from top to bottom, are all making impacts on one another. Our entire team has a dedicated mindset and a positive attitude that has really been the driving factor to our success,” said Inman when asked about what the team meant to him.

Resch also said, “Every person on the team was a valuable asset, not just the varsity runners. Every man did their absolute best in every workout and never complained. We made a positive atmosphere that was geared toward success. We created a team that was full of people who truly cared about this team. That was really the key to our success.”

Another major part of the success for the men’s team was their excellent leadership. Ever since the summer practices, the older Varsity runners showed up and pushed the rest of the team hard. Bellack told the Scout, “This was the beginning of our progress towards our success.”

The team will be losing a few top varsity seniors for next year, but believe that the upcoming classes will be able to fill their shoes. Many of these fast runners will also be seen on the track-and-field seen later in the school-year.