Zenchak continues to be a front-runner

Pitt-Johnstown cross-country runners prepare for their upcoming race Oct. 3 at Frostburg (Md.) State University.

Asha Njeri

Pitt-Johnstown cross-country runners prepare for their upcoming race Oct. 3 at Frostburg (Md.) State University.

Emily Moore, Sports Editor

Pitt-Johnstown’s men’s cross-country runners have finished impressive times in the past few races, especially one runner, sophomore Kyle Zenchak.

Sept. 4, the team placed second at the Saint Francis University (Loretto, Pa.) Invitational 500 meter race and finished with 46 overall points as a team.

Zenchak finished fifth with a time of 17minutes, 41 seconds, making him the highest placed Pitt-Johnstown runner at the invitational.

“The Saint Francis Invitational was a hard competition. They are an exceptionally good team, but, overall, it was a great experience for everyone,” said Zenchak.

Before the Saint Francis opener, team members spent their summer practicing.

“We did many strenuous workouts and a lot of long runs to get us prepared for the season,” said Zenchak.

Sept. 12, the team competed at the Penn State-Allegheny Men’s Cross-Country Invitational, placing first all together with 19 points.

Zenchak placed first out of the 63 runners there with a time of 26 minutes, 3 seconds, Pitt-Johnstown freshman Killian McNally placed second with a 26:19 time, sophomore JT Horwat placed fourth with a 26:42 time. Freshman Luca Pugliano placed fifth with a 28:08 time.

Winning the race, Zenchak has now put his name out to the other runners in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and the state.

“I have not faced any conference runners yet, but I am confident I can hang with them,” said Zenchak.

“My main goal is to beat one, if not two of the Pitt main runners, and I want to be in the Top 50 in the confernce this year.”

According to Zenchak, the Pitt-Johnstown cross-country team is going to be in 10th-12th place at the end of the year.

“If we stay injury-free and have a good day, we can meet this goal,” said Zenchak.

To prepare himself before every race, Zenchak watches the movie “Without Limits.”

“There is one specific quote that stands out: ‘The real purpose of running is to test the limits of the human heart,’” said Zenchak.

“We also listen to the Rocky Balboa soundtrack on the bus before we leave, and the whole team says a prayer before we race to help us.”

The team competed at the Saint Vincent Invitational Saturday.

Zenchak finished in seventh place with a time of 27:03.

The men’s team finished sixth out of 16 teams competing at the St. Vincent Invitational.