DCC Cross Country Celebrate Senior Night

Tom Shade, Contributor

It was perhaps the warmest ‘Senior Night’ in local cross country history as both the Cardinal & Beaver seniors were recognized on the DuBois track before the 4-school race began, marking the final gun on the new DHS course for 2019.

Seniors- Maddy Miller, Rachael Miller, Alex Ochs, Maddy Miscavish, Jaci Menetti, Shane Paisley, Dylan Foster, Johnny Ritsick, Jordy Kosko (absent) were honored alongside their parents, and their underclassmen teammates gave them gifts.

Punxsutawney swept all teams to win the day, but the Cardinal boys outran the Brockway Rovers(29-27) to claim a team victory in the dry, humid conditions. The Lady Cards were nipped by the Rovers 26-29.

Finishing first against both Beaver & Rover runners in the boys’ race was DCC’s Johnny Ritsick(18:28), now the all-time leader in career wins since the program began in 1969. It was the 10th first place of the season for Ritsick, another statistic unmatched in school history.

“At first many spectators may have thought the contest was between DuBois Area’s Mac Jamarillo and Johnny, but it wasn’t long before Johnny had his eye on the two quality Punxy leaders. He made a valiant effort to stay with them. It has been uplifting to see Johnny’s growth as an athlete through the years” (Coach Shade)

The rest of the boys scoring tonight included JP Piccirillo, followed by Brenden Paisley, Shane Paisley, and Dylan Foster at the 5th spot. Angelo Piccirillo and Danta Armanini covered the team at #6 & 7 before Loren Way became the only Cardinal to set a personal mark on the course as the 8th DCC runner. Isaac Bloom finished at #9 to end the places for DCC.

“Loren’s performance is significant as the conditions tonight did not favor fast times, so we applaud him. The boys have worked close all season and the goal is to keep them on the top half of all District Nine schools in these final 4 weeks.”

Leading runner for the Lady Cards, Jaci Mennetti(23:59), grabbed a first against Brockway putting her in a tie with Meghan Graeca’s all-time #3 spot for season wins. Mennetti was the lone Lady Card to break into the top five of both DuBois and Punxsutawney and led the girls to a near-upset of the Rovers.

“As always we are proud of Jaci’s efforts, and she handled the warm temperatures better than most of her opponents based on the times. The girls did not get to warm up as well as we wanted due to Senior Night, and that is my fault for not planning around it all. The Punxy and Rover girls stayed away from the ceremonies to prepare for the race, and it forced us to re-evaluate how we do things.”

Scoring second for the Cardinal girls was JoAnne Case followed by Beth Williams close by. The 4th and 5th runners for the Cards, Maddy Miscavish & Alec Ochs also formed a tight group that helped DCC in the scoring.

“Maddy missed her PR by a second and this was Alex’s first time on the course. A goal is to get the girls to pack a bit closer to form a more formidable team for post-season.”

Protecting the girls’ score in the 6 – 8th places were Michaela Armanini, Rachael Miller, Maddy Miller, and Paris Farley.

Since 1969 DHS leads the series in wins versus the DCC boys, 46-24, while Punxy leads 39-1.   DCC leads the series with Brockway 8-7 since 1980, the year that Coach Tom Shade began the sport at Brockway.

Since 1978 DHS leads the series against the DCC girls 46-5, while Punxsutawney leads 18-2. Brockway also leads the series with the Lady Cards since 1980 at 7-4.

With cooler temperatures on the way, the Cardinals take part in the storied Ridgeway Invitational on Saturday at the home course of the District Nine Championships later in the month.

Following Ridgway, the Cards will end the regular season at ECC on Tuesday.