Tom Shade, Contributor


For the third straight year DuBois Central Catholic has more than doubled it’s cross country participants, and Coach Tom Shade has an optimistic outlook for 2017.
“Our #1 goal is getting more students involved in cross country and it is hard not to feel uplifted with this steady, positive response from the student body. When you consider the limited number of students and all the activities available to them, it says something good about them that they chose this particular sport.”
For the first time in 11 years the Cardinals will field full girls & boys teams, including a Lady Cardinal squad that may be the largest in DCC’s history, one that rivals the 1980 roster under the legendary Coaches Don “Duke” Davies & Fr. Greg Leopold. Coach Davies founded DCC Cross Country in 1969, then opened the sport to girls in 1977.  In 1984, with only 5 girls trying out for the team, DCC won a district championship, a feat never accomplished before or after by either boys or girls teams.
Leading the Lady Cards will be senior Meghan Graeca who holds DCC’s all-time dual meet wins record and a contender to be the first girl’s state qualifier since Missy Roseman in 1987. Another post-season hopeful is veteran Emily Williams who was a consistent place-winner in 2016.
“Meghan and Emily look strong again this season, but we have lots of new-comers who show promise and will be jockeying positions all season to make the district team. Beth Williams, Liz Gankowski, Madisan Gill, Madisyn Miscavish, Maia Cogley, and Hannah Miller will be competing for the top 5 positions, but don’t count out the potential found in Michaela Armanini, Mercedes Raab, Rachael & Madison Miller because these girls are already closing the gap since practice began. All the girls have had successful experiences in athletics.”
The first boys team since 2011 sees the return of veterans Grant Norman, John Ritsick, and John Swalligan, all with big meet experience. J.P. Piccirillo, Len Swisher, and Shane Paisely join the cross country ranks for their first season.
“Swalligan, Ritsick, and Norman lead the boys by experience, but  J.P., Lenny & Shane have already proven themselves as top contenders in August practices. It is hard to make predictions at this point until we get a few meets in, but we are looking to get dual meet wins and some post-season recognition. The last boy to reach the state championships was in 1999 with Matt Gabler’s outstanding run at districts, and I know at least one of these teammates can repeat it.”
“We have had a positive pre-season, and I will predict many pleasant surprises ahead. We are excited.”
The Cards open at ECC on September 5th.

Seniors: John Swalligan, Liz Gankowski, Meghan Graeca, Hannah Miller
Juniors: Grant Norman, Emily Williams, Mercedes Raab,
Sophmores:  Maia Cogley, Madisan Miller, Rachael Miller, Jon Ritsick, Shane Paisely,  Madisan Miscavish
Freshman:  Michaela Armanini, Madisan Gill,  Beth Williams  J.P. Picirrillo, Len Swisher