DCC Defeats Kane and St. Marys in Cross Country Meet


Tom Shade, Contributor

The DCC cross country teams joined 3 other powerhouse District Nine programs to test the looping, varied terrain of the new DuBois Area home course on a dry, sunny Tuesday in September.

The  Beaver boys and St. Marys girls won the day against all schools in the quad-meet, however all runners that took part were privileged to part of cross country history as the first-ever competitors on the untested course.

“The course is somewhat challenging with the multiple loops, rigorous hills in the second mile, and tricky descent in all the hills, 5 total. A runner needs to have some instruction on how to run downhill safely here as the descents are a bit sharp and curving. On most courses you can plan to gain on opponents on the downhill portions of the race, but here I would instruct runners to take careful, shorter steps & stay off their heels at all costs to help avoid injury. It might be helpful to spend a good bit of time here to get familiar with these segments of the race area.”(Coach Shade)

The Cardinal runners, missing key teammates, managed to take home 3 victories from the Wolves & Dutch while also establishing historic milestones for several teammates.

The DCC boys took two team wins by close margins(Kane: 27-28) & (St.Marys: 26-29), while lead runner Johnny Ritsick(18:22) claimed 2 firsts against the same. Ritsick’s career win total puts him in a 3-way tie for the #3 all-time spot alongside legends Mark Madere & Geno Cherry of the 1970s Era.

The boys team last defeated Kane in 2006 led by Shane Ford & Joe Kreydt. Against DuBois the DCC boys have struggled over the years with their last victory in 1996 with the aid of top runners Allan Sekula & Mike Ford. The Dutch of St.Marys however, have not defeated the Cardinal boys since 2011 (DCC had no boys team 2013-15).

Behind Ritsick were the other Critical scorers that allowed for the wins. In 2nd for DCC was J.P. Piccirillo(19:47).

“Johnny easily opened the door for us, but JP staying ahead of his Kane opponent was a huge factor.”

Holding the line for the Cardinal boys was Brenden Paisley(20:48), setting a freshman mark on the course for DCC, and keeping ahead of his Kane runner by seconds only.

“Brenden was crucial, and so was the duo-pack of Dylan Foster & Shane Paisley staying a hair breath ahead of Kane. As is common in cross country seconds matter, along with that little extra effort when things get tight.”

Angelo Piccirillo closed the door on the Wolves coming in 5th for the team, followed by Aaron Gankosky & Loren Way.

The St. Marys win was similar with both Ritsick & Piccirillo opening the door and holding off a very strong packing effort by the Dutch boys.

“It is hard to lose when you take first, second & fourth place as we did, but St. Marys almost pulled it off. The small pack of Dylan & Shane really helped save it. It is important that the team challenges each other and at the same time work together in a pack when possible.”

DHS easily won over DCC (41-20) as a team, and it was here that the boys race saw the best contest between Johnny Ritsick & the Beaver’s Mac Jamarillo. The two ace runners went back and forth in the lead with Jamarillo just edging out Ritsick at the end.

“Mac was last year’s Class AA champion in District Nine, and Johnny earned respect today with that great race on an unfamiliar course.”

DuBois is in it’s 9th straight year of powerhouse programs for both teams, and is considered a major influence in the growth of cross country and running in the area.

The Lady Cards also came away with a win over Kane(23-45) as Kane struggles to keep a full team through the years, a common issue with many schools. However, the Cardinal girls did not compete well with the Lady Beavers(42-19) or the Dutch(35-20) as these two Class AAA competitors continue their dominance in the region.

DCC’s Jaci Mennetti(23:44) established the school record for the course and took two wins(Kane/St.Marys) as she now stands only 3 wins away from the season record for first places since 1978.

“Jaci’s only challenge was the lead runner from DHS (Morgan Rothrock) who targeted Jaci throughout the race to edge her at the finish. Jaci ran a nice race on a course she didn’t know well, and she lost time on Monument Hill as she started taking the wrong turn. Being the leading runner in a race is a difficult spot to be in, especially on a course you haven’t run. As always we are proud of her.”

Also scoring for the girls and establishing course marks were JoAnne Case, Beth Williams, Maddy Miscavish, Michaela Armanini, Madisan Miller & Rachael Miller.

“JoAnne, Beth, and Maddy formed a pretty good pack again, but we need to move that group a bit closer to the front to narrow the 5-minute gap we have.”

Like the boys, the Lady Cards have had a tough history with two teams they met today. The last team win against DuBois or St. Marys was over 30 years ago in the 1980s Era, but the girls have not lost to Kane since 2006.

“Today was a great learning experience for the teams against advanced programs and top -notch competitors. Since this is considered our “home course” for the time being, it was a relief to get to know the course better. Our runners continue to understand themselves and to make choices in their habits, strategies & training that we hope will take root in the next 5 weeks.”

The Cardinals travel to the long -established Brookville course next week.