Monday, October 19, 2015


In August I began my eighth season as head Men's and Women's cross country coach at Penn State Schuylkill, a satellite campus of the Pennsylvania State University,

The campus is nestled in a cozy, rural area, and the annual enrollment hovers around 1,800 students.

Schuylkill boasts a unique, diverse blend of local young men and women, most of whom commute to campus, as well as many inner-city youth.

Every year, my runners include veteran runners, those who have run cross country or track in high school, as well as those who have very little knowledge or experience in the area of distance running.

This year's team featured two local runners, who distinguished themselves in high school, followed by a group of runners who were, for the most part, novices to the sport.

One such novice was Muhmod Shabazz, from Brooklyn, New York.

Muhmod, a quiet, personable young man, had never run a step in his life, and on August 24, the first day of practice, looked at me with disbelief when I informed him that he would be running 5-mile races before the season ended.

For his first workout, he ran a little over a quarter mile.

At the state championship meet on Saturday, he crossed the finish line at the end of a 5.2-mile race, on a very challenging course.

He did so through incredible hard work and dedication. He vows to continue running

As a group, this year's runners made me very proud.
Three  runners earned All Conference honors at the PSUAC State Meet at the Penn State Nationals on Saturday.
Casey Renninger earned first team All-Conference honors by placing 6th on the 6K course, with a time of 29:28. Lauren Howell, a graduate of Pottsville Area, made second team All Conference, placing 11th, in 31:17. Justice Dimitro finished 14th, with a time of 36:06, followed by Maria Naradko, 15th, in 36:20, and Jodi Francis finished 16th, with a time of 36:59.
Schuylkill finished 3rd in the team competition.

For the men, Blue Mountain graduate, Nico Granito earned second team All-Conference honors, by placing 10th, with a time of 34:08, on the 5.2 mile course. Julian Seawright ran 48:14, placing 31st. Muhmod Shabazz placed 34th in 55:50. Richie Dawson ran 1:02:32, to place 35th, and Adam Wimmer ran 1:05:19. to finish 36th.

Schuylkill Boys placed 6th in the team competition.

 Running and competing is fun. Passing it on is fulfilling

                                                                     Nico Granito

                                                                     Schuylkill Girls