Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cwnc Is Running out a New Program This Year Cross Country

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cwnc Is Running out a New Program This Year Cross Country

Article excerpt

New school. New location. And, in the case of Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, several new teams will make their debut when the school opens its doors at its brand, spankin' new campus located along state Route 228 in Cranberry Township this month.

One of those teams is the cross country team that will be guided by Stacy Kopchak, who is beginning her first year as a high school coach. The sport is returning following a six-year hiatus.

Kopchak is no stranger to running as she has competed in a number of races for the past 20 years.

"I started with 5Ks and as my children got older, I started doing 10Ks and half marathons, and then I got into marathons," said Kopchak, 50. "I've run more than 20 marathons, and then I got into long-distance running -- 50ks, 50-milers and 100-mile races. I've run four 100-mile races, and I'm training for another one that I'll do in September."

For the past eight years, she coached grade school cross country at St. Alphonsus School in Pine, and helped coordinate the annual Pittsburgh Diocesan Grade School Cross Country Championships at Cooper's Lake Campground near Slippery Rock.

Kopchak said the biggest difference between coaching on the grade school level and the high school level is how attentive the older athletes are.

"I don't need a megaphone anymore dealing with high school kids," she said. "It's exciting, and they're a lot older.

"The students attending Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic have run at different Catholic [grade] schools. I've learned to be patient, considering we're all starting from scratch. It's a new program, and we're all very much excited and we're gradually going to increase our mileage and improve."

The Trojans will compete in Division II, Section 2, which features some Beaver County teams along with some closer geographic rivals such as Avonworth, Northgate, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Vincentian. …

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