Friday afternoon on the track of Seth Grove Stadium saw the debut of the state stage of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy track and field team.
As debuts go, there was nothing spectacular. There will be no medals brought home and no one made the finals, but in just the third year of the program, it was some pretty valuable experience for the four young men.
“As a relay team, I think we could have done a lot better,” sophomore Mikey Kresovich said. “We didn’t bring our A-game. We brought our C-game. I think all of us could have run a little better. But it was a good experience. We know what to expect now and we’ll definitely be back next year to compete.”
Kresovich and fellow sophomore Charlie Ross joined juniors Brian Hackman and Kasim Buey for the 1,600 relay, and Hackman also ran in the 1,600-meter race.
Hackman took 12 th in his heat, while the relay team finished seventh.
While a storybook finish might have been welcome, success on this level also comes from experience.
“Running like I did for the mile, it’ll help me next year,” Hackman said. “Hopefully I’ll get back here, make finals and place pretty high. It’s what I wanted to do this year, but at least I’ll have my senior year so I can hopefully do that.”
The whole experience was new, including spending Thursday night in the dorms on the Shippensburg University campus.
“We tried to start it out like a normal day,” Kresovich said.
They got up early, watched some events, went back to the dorms to rest, then returned to see some more action before they finally got on the track.
The action that they enjoyed the most, however, came the night before, when a party broke out in the courtyard next to their building.
“It’s been awesome,” Hackman said. “They were blasting music and everyone was dancing. It was fun. It was a great experience. I got to know a lot of cool people here.”
Some of the athletes showed off their dancing skills, and even the St. Joes’ boys got into the festivities.
“Yeah, I might have busted a move,” Kresovich said with a smile.
“I was sort of on the outside of the circle watching,” Hackman said. “I didn’t really get into it.”
About 24 hours earlier, Dakota Bartley and Bryce and Bryan Greene were all in Wingate helping the Bald Eagle Area baseball team beat Bellwood-Antis 6-5 in the District 6 Class AA semifinals. A two-run double from Bryan Greene brought in the tying and winning runs with two out in the bottom of the seventh inning.
On Friday, they were in their track uniforms, racing to a fourth-place finish in their heat of the 1,600 relay.
“That was a great win and it drained me a little bit,” Bryce Greene said of the baseball win. “We got here around 11:30 (Thursday) night.”
The senior ran in the 200 meters earlier Friday, then returned for the relay.
“It was a little different — different from any other meet I’ve been to,” Bryce Greene said, admitting to being nervous for his 200 race. “There was definitely a lot more talent up here. I think it went pretty good for a first time.”
Back in action
After being laid up with a stress fracture in her tibia, State College’s Emma Cousins was quite happy to be competing again.
Cousins ran a leg on the 3,200 relay team, which turned in the morning’s best time among all girls teams to advance to the finals.
“I thought I was going to have to kill myself both days,” Cousins said. “But it’s good. With the injury we wanted to be safe, and the position they put me in was perfect. I could just run my race and not completely kill myself for tomorrow.”
The senior, who is headed to Bucknell in the fall to run track and cross country, had been sidelined since mid-April with the injury, and had been staying in shape by running in a pool, riding a bike or putting in other work that did not put weight on her leg.
Friday marked just the fourth time she had run outside since the injury, with two laps at the District 6 meet last Friday one of her other jaunts.
“It’s actually feeling really good,” Cousins said. “The past two weeks the pain’s gone away almost completely. I’m really glad they put me on the 4x8 for states.”
The lone Ram
Penns Valley’s appearance at the PIAA meet lasted just over two minutes, but Gino Nicosia would hardly complain about the experience or the quick exit.
He finished 11 th in his heat of the 800-meter run, with a time of 2:06.82, but it was getting here and savoring the moment that made it a special trip – and it made his hungry for his senior year.
“I’m only a junior,” Nicosia said. “I’ve got next year still.”
He was not about to be concerned about carrying the flag for the Ram program.
“I wasn’t going to put all the stress on me,” Nicosia said. “I can’t do that to myself because then I’d be nervous about it. I just tried to run my race, but it didn’t work out in my favor. I’m not that upset.”
He also thoroughly enjoyed the party outside the dorms Thursday night.
“It was a lot of people,” Nicosia said, shaking his head at the thought of the crowd.
So was he one of those dancing?
“That wasn’t me,” he laughed
While competing on the stadium infield in the triple jump, Bryce Williams and Kellin Valentine had to be separated from their coaches, who were on the other side of the fence watching and shouting advice.
But they also had each other, and it proved quite helpful to have another set of eyes and a little extra nearby support.
“Every day Bryce and I are at practice talking to each other,” Valentine said. “I’m cheering for him, he’s cheering for me.”
Williams finished third and Valentine was 11 th.
“It definitely does help to have a teammate there to talk through things, look at your steps,” Williams said. “I definitely appreciate him.”
Valentine competed in the second flight of jumpers, while Williams was in the third flight. Valentine just missed the finals by two places and six inches, so he had to wait through the last round to see if he made the finals.
He then had to run across the field to join his teammates in the 400 relay, which finished second in their heat.
“It was pretty tough,” Valentine said. “It’s all in your head. You just have to focus on, ‘Am I going to make it in jumping?’ and “Oh, I have to make it in 4x1.’ You just have to balance it out. It was pretty tough but I got through it.”