Saturday, January 7, 2017

RUNNING:IT'S A FAMILY THING

Following is my monthly column, which appeared today in the Republican Herald newspaper.

Running can truly be a generational thing.

Our region has produced many great runners, many of whom have distinguished themselves at the scholastic, collegiate, and national levels.

In a few rare instances, however, running success has spanned generations. The Lowthert family of Pottsville is a classic example.

On November 22, 2016, the patriarch of another local running family which has left an indelible impact on our sport, passed away, at the age of 71.

John Granito, Sr., a veteran of five marathons and hundreds of road races, grew up in Pottsville, but picked up competitive running later in life, literally following in the footsteps of his fleet-footed sons.
During the early 1980s, the Granito boys led the Blue Mountain cross country and track teams to prominence.

Under the tutelage of legendary cross country coach, Ralph Jaeger, and bolstered by the coaching of former Millersville standout middle-distance runner, Mark Herb in track, John, Jr., Adam, and Jason Granito, at one time, comprised 3/5 of the scoring on a cross country team that became one of the most feared teams in the state of Pennsylvania.

John Granito was the leader of a Blue Mountain cross country team that place third at States in 1984. During his four years at Blue Mountain, the cross country team finished in the top ten every season. John began running track in fourth grade, and was a member of the 4x800 meter relay team that made it to States in 1984. He also placed seventh at the prestigious McQuaid Invitational, in New York, leading Blue Mountain to the team title against teams from 13 other states and Canada. John earned a scholarship to American University, where he became captain of the cross country team for all four years of his career.

Adam Granito was a 5-time District XI champion in track and cross country during his running career at Blue Mountain. He was also a 2-time State medalist, placing 6th  in cross country and 6th in the 3200-meter run. Adam went on to have a distinguished running career at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

Jason Granito competed with his brothers when he was a freshman at Blue Mountain. That year, he placed second at the McQuaid Invitational.

John Jr.’s son, Nico, and daughter, Mia, both ran cross country at Blue Mountain.

Nico Granito is currently the captain of the Penn State Schuylkill cross country team. In 2015, he earned Second Team All-Conference honors in the Penn State University Athletic Conference, and in 2016, he led the team to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships in Virginia Beach.

Running has united the Granito family.

At the annual Rhoades Race 5K, held in Saint Clair, three generations, consisting of eight members of the Granitos once ran the race. Six of them earned awards.

John Granito, Sr. won his age division at the Yuengling Light Lager Jogger 5K in 2015.

It was John Granito’s character, more than his running knowledge, that guided his sons to success.
According to his son, John, Jr., his dad encouraged he and his brothers to, “Strive to be your best,” and to, “Do what it takes to succeed.”


It is a legacy that has spanned three generations of the Grantio family of runners.

                                                                       Nico Granito