1st home meet in 14 years: victory


Yang Chen

Pitt-Johnstown’s women cross-country junior Samantha Kluz finished her four-mile run and led the women’s cross-country team to second place Oct. 5 in the Pitt-Johnstown University invitational at the Pitt-Johnstown’s cross-country trail.

Yang Chen, Sports Editor

The Pitt-Johnstown men’s and women’s cross-country teams finished their first home meet Oct. 5 on a Pitt-Johnstown cross country trail.

Pat Pecora, Pitt-Johnstown athletic director, said the home cross-country meet was a great step for the Pitt-Johnstown cross country program.

“We haven’t had a home cross-country meet since 2005, and I want to give credit to the new cross-country coach Nick Ramirez. He is talented and pulls the whole team together.

“Since he got hired, he told me about his plans for the cross-country team and wanted to have a home cross-country meet.

“We finally got approval from the NCAA for our cross-country trail matching NCAA official standards in the past month. 

“I want to keep this home cross-country course, and, in the future, host more school events in order to attract more local high schools, campuses and individuals to come to our cross-country trail,” Pecora said.

Ramirez, the Pitt-Johnstown head cross country coach, said it was a good meet, the men’s cross-country team placed first out of four teams, whike the women’s team placed second out of four.

“We could have gotten both first individual places, if our women’s cross-country runner Kelsy Valko didn’t get injured.

“My whole team feels more confident and works harder, so today they were paid off. They know that they have the abilities to win.

“It’s a small step for our team, but I know that we’re going to have good achievements in the rest of the conference meets,” Ramirez said.

Freshman Mike Hanik, the first place in men’s cross-country, said he was proud to place first this event.

“This is the first time for me to get first place during my fourth college cross-country meet. I felt so happy, especially on this field. 

“I started running when I was 7. I got better in high school, then decided to keep cross-country a part of my life.

“I used to do extra stretching after team training, and some individual training. I think it’s the reason for my success,” Hanik said.

Junior Samantha Kluz was the second-place finisher in the women’s race.

“It’s a great place to run and gets placed on this field. I used to run 400 meters and 800 meters on the track and field team, but I like the atmosphere on the cross-country team,” Kluz said.

Jesse Weiner, the Alderson Broaddus University head cross-country coach, said it was a great meet.

“Our girls team placed first, and our guys also did a good job. We’re in second place overall. I think it’s a good result.

“I’m very proud of both teams (Pitt-Johnstown and Alderson Broaddus). This event will bring more people to enjoy the cross-country course,” Weiner said.

Alderson Broaddus University sophomore Kierra Nicole Hodge, the first place in the women’s race, said she didn’t expect to finish first.

“This is my second time to get first place, and I’m so surprised. I used to run three miles for my training, and I felt today’s performance is slower than my three miles.

“I was so happy and hope that I move further in future,” Hodge said.