Ritsick & Mennetti Lead Cardinals at ECC Quintuple-Meet


Tom Shade, Contributor

It was a rare meeting of North & South in District Nine with 5 schools that have never joined at a single dual meet in XC history, until today. Although the Class ‘AA/AAA’ DuBois Area teams dominated the day with team wins, some of the real news came in the form of record performances among the DCC runners.

With the dual season coming to an end Johnny Ritick(17:50) blazed the ECC famed course in a time never seen by a Cardinal harrier. Ritsick’s blast shattered the 1994 mark that was a standard held by John Gabler when he hit an 18:02 at this place 25 years ago. Ritsick’s run also earned him a win over Coudersport & Smethport that adds to his season & career record at DuBois Central.

“It was just several weeks back that Johnny thought it was nearly impossible to get under 18:00 at Benzinger Park, but when he made that statement there must have been a seed of faith in there. His confidence grows weekly.”(Coach Shade)

Lady Card leader, Jaci Mennetti, also made the history books with 3 wins for the season, by-passing the 1984 record held by the memorable Lori Skrzpek of that fabled era.

“Lori was a tough competitor in an age of strong girls teams, and like Lori, Jaci is very consistent & reliable with quality races.”

Mennetti helped the girls come away with three team wins, a rare circumstance in school history, and likely the first ever. The wins included a sweep of ECC and near sweep of Smethport. Coudersport took 2nd & third place against DCC and looked more impressive. The DuBois girls were far too powerful for the Cards, but Mennetti managed to score against them.

Brenden Paisley(20:08) improved on his freshman record at ECC, and Isaac Bloom(30:00) achieved a career PR here, with Angelo Piccirillo tying his.

“ECC’s course is called “slow”, meaning it is hard to get fast times on, so it is impressive if a runner can do so. The weather was a bit more favorable than our last race here, and the teams took advantage of it.”

Additional Cardinal runners achieved personal course records: Michaela Armanini nearly cracked 30 minutes; both Rachael & Maddy Miller; Maddy Miscavish breached under 28:00; JoAnne Case(27:25); JP Piccirillo(19:03); Shane Paisley(22:05); Dante Armanini and Loren Way.

Also scoring for the boys were DyLan Foster, and debuting at the course was Paris Farley for the girls.

With any score of 27 points or less ensuring a win, the Lady Cards scored 15 versus ECC, 23 versus Coudersport, 19 versus Smethport, and 45 versus DuBois. The DCC boys scored 15 versus Coudersport, 34 versus ECC, 21 versus Smethport and 42 versus DuBois.

“The power matchup was DHS vs. ECC(34-23) on the boys side, and the closest contest for DCC was with Smethport boys(31-26), and it will interesting to see how each team fares in post-season. There really was no real contest with the girls single ‘A’ teams today.”

Historically, the DCC boys have met Smethport only 7 times since 1969 with the Hubbers leading the series 5-2. The Lady Cards have only had 3 official meetings with Smethport since 1978, winning two by forfeit and losing one by forfeit. The girls have never ran a full Smethport team, underscoring the age-old challenge in cross country to supply teams.

The Cardinals go into the Post-Season phase of training taking an abbreviated squad to Ridgway for a dual meet with ECC, the Elkers, and Brockway.

The District meet is Saturday, October 26 at Ridgway’s legendary grassy corridor on Bootjack Hill.