Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Quaker Valley a Title Threat Again for Boys' and Girls' Cross Country

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Quaker Valley a Title Threat Again for Boys' and Girls' Cross Country

Article excerpt

Quaker Valley High School's boys' cross country team has been sort of overshadowed the past two years by its female counterpart.

The words "sort of" are needed because the Quakers' boys have won the past three WPIAL Class AA team championships and have run well at the PIAA meet. But the girls have also won WPIAL Class AA titles the past two seasons and have taken a run at the PIAA team title, finishing second in 2001 and third last year.

Both squads will be strong again and should be the teams to beat in their respective races at the WPIAL championships. The difference is the boys are the team Coach Dave Noyes believes can go after a PIAA title.

"We have our top six runners back and we were sixth at the PIAA last year," Noyes said. "We have some guys who worked hard over the summer. There are some others that I'm not so sure about. If those guys come around we could be right there."

Quaker Valley's top runner is Zach Thomas, a senior who was third at the WPIAL championships and sixth at the PIAA meet last fall. Right behind him, literally, is senior Andy Kifer, who was 11th at the WPIAL championships.

Thomas put in the miles during the summer and appears primed for an outstanding fall. He didn't let anything get in the way of his training.

"We were at a running camp at Seven Springs and Zach dislocated his shoulder playing volleyball," Noyes said. "It took a while for them to reduce it and get it back in place, but there he was the next day, doing mile repeats.

"His philosophy is that when he laces up the shoes, nothing else matters."

The fact Kifer and Thomas push each other in practice is a plus. It makes both of them better and tends to pull along others on the team.

Karl Gustafson, who was seventh in the WPIAL last year, is also back along with Erich Whittmer, Dan Thompson and Kyle O'Rourke. All are seniors except for Whittmer, who is a junior.

Noyes doesn't see any newcomers breaking into the varsity lineup.

He will get an idea where the boys' team stands Saturday morning when the Quakers participate in the Big Red Invitational at West Middlesex High School. …

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