Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Central Catholic Hits Happy Trails

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Central Catholic Hits Happy Trails

Article excerpt

Central Catholic sophomore Scott Van Kooten emerged from the woods and chased down the cross country runner straight ahead of him.

It was only after Van Kooten began passing runners left and right that he realized something had gone terribly wrong.

"It's like a triple-loop, figure-8 kind of course, and there's a spot where you come out of the woods for the last loop and make a very sharp left," Vikings coach Tim McVeagh said. "Someone [slower] was being lapped and he saw that kid and went straight, after him.

"He started passing all these [slower] kids and started to wonder what was going on."

Central was strong enough to win the Erie McDowell Invitational without Van Kooten that day, behind top-10 finishes from senior Dan Kuzma (2nd) and Dario Donatelli (7th). The Vikings outscored runner- up Youngsville, 91-115 in the Sept. 4 event.

"I told him [Van Kooten] it really wasn't a bad thing, his getting lost, because the team won anyway. He is untested, but not a darkhorse, not anymore."

It's a pleasant thought for Central to consider its prospects with Van Kooten crossing the finish line as planned. Last weekend at the Red, White and Blue meet at Schenley Park, the Vikings were runners-up by 18 points to North Hills in the team race.

Traditional powers such as Mt. Lebanon and North Allegheny were there as well, so it was a promising start.

Van Kooten (4th), Kuzma (7th) and Donatelli (13th) were Central's top finishers. Other area runners included Connellsville's Ken King (3rd), Greensburg Central Catholic's Adam Smith (6th) and Greensburg- Salem's Adam Laubham (9th). Greensburg Central placed fourth in the team standings.

"I'm not surprised [by the early success]," McVeagh said. "Last year, Scott Van Kooten was a novice in the two-mile, and went under 10:20. John Nemeth was a sophomore [last year in track] and had run the 800 in about two minutes. …

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