Potter Leader-Enterprise / Port Allegany Reporter Argus
September 9, 2009
Last year, Port Allegany’s cross country runners stepped to the line for the first time as a team, with both the boys and girls picking up their first wins in the program’s short history. Individually, Jessica French, Justin Lewis, and Desi Tanner all medaled at the North Tier League meet, and French finished 15th at districts to qualify for the PIAA state championships.
All three have graduated, though, leaving a young squad behind for head coach Fran Reilly. But while she acknowledges those athletes will be difficult to replace, she’s looking forward to the team she has.
“I enjoy working with them; they’re really a nice bunch of kids,” she said. “We go out there, and they’re willing to work. And they’re eager to learn, so I’m really happy with them.”
With no upperclassmen on the roster, Reilly is depending on the leaders from last year’s junior high squad to step up to the varsity level.
“Aaron Majot uses his head when he runs; he’s very consistent. Jameson Haskins; he and Aaron are going to be the co-captains. He has the ability and also the willingness to push himself. Young – they’re only ninth-graders – but I see them improving,” she said.
Sophomore Bryan Pritt and freshmen Jacob Undercofler and Lucas Manning round out the varsity squad, while eighth-graders Stephen Blankenship, Logan Hutton, and Dallas Taylor and seventh-graders Jason Huss, Adam Koehler, and Jefferson Stehle will compete for the junior high. Port Allegany will not field a girls’ team this season.
While Reilly is realistic about the Gators’ postseason prospects this year, she sees a positive future for the program.
“The last thing I say to them when they get on the line is, ‘Who is your major opponent? Yourself.’ When they can see improvement in themselves, that’s what’s important, and especially with a team like this that’s so young.
“Am I looking to see anybody go to states this year? Probably not,” she admitted. “But am I looking at athletes that are going to be growing? Yeah. I see a lot of potential in a lot of these kids. I’m not going to say this group of kids is the fastest, but they’re dedicated and they’re willing to work. That, to me, means more than worrying about whether we’re the best team out there.”
8 – Coudersport, 4 p.m.
12 – Franklinville Invitational, 9 a.m.
15 – at Kane/Smethport, 4 p.m.
19 – Bradford Invitational, 9:30 a.m.
22 – Oswayo Valley, 4 p.m.
26 – McQuaid Invitational, 9 a.m.
29 – at Otto-Eldred, 4 p.m.
7 – at Northern Potter, 4 p.m.
13 – at Couderport, 4 p.m.
20 – North Tier League meet, 4 p.m.