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Following win at WCCA meet, Norwin girls cross country team sets sights on WPIAL success

November 5, 2018 GMT

With its recent win at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association meet, Norwin girls cross country received a shot of confidence.

The Knights upset Greensburg Salem, the team it finished behind in Division I, Section 1, and they hope to take the momentum with them into the WPIAL championships Thursday at Cal (Pa.).

“It was rewarding, because we were county champs my freshman year, so it was nice to finish how we started,” senior Courtney Kosanovic said. “It was a huge surprise, because Greensburg Salem defeated us at our section meet. It was a lot of fun, and it gives us a lot more confidence going into WPIALs, because we know we can beat some of the bigger teams.”

Kosanovic placed third at WCCAs and has been Norwin’s top runner the last two years. Kosanovic enjoys getting to compete with her twin sister, Caitlyn, and said she couldn’t have a better running partner.

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The Kosanovics and Julia Fasiczka are senior leaders, and they’ve been complemented by freshman Triniti Joy.

Joy finished fifth at WCCAs, which was another step toward reaffirming her belief she can make a difference for the team.

“At our recent county meet I did really well, and it showed me that I can do a lot more than I thought I could,” Joy said. “I’m looking forward to the experience at WPIALs and proving myself over again. I really want to make it to states, and I am looking forward to the chance to do that.”

Madison Plesi placed ninth at WCCAs, and Katelyn Plassio was 21st.

Knights coach Brian Fleckenstein said they’ve done a better job of staying in their pack, which helped them win the county meet.

Cal (Pa.) is a new venue for the WPIAL meet after it had been run at Cooper’s Lake in Slippery Rock the last several years. Many Norwin runners have not been to the course, but they took a trip to scope it out during the JV team’s final meet of the year on Thursday.

Having a new course for her final WPIAL meet doesn’t bother Kosanovic.

“For me personally, I always seem to do better on the unknown courses,” Kosanovic said. “I’ve never been to Cal before, so I’m excited for it. I feel we can be anywhere from cracking the top five to somewhere in the top 10. It depends on how our pack does. If we run well together we’ll be up there.”

Norwin’s boys team placed eighth last year at WPIALs and like the girls team, finished second behind Greensburg Salem in the section standings.

The boys finished second at WCCAs behind Greensburg Salem.

One of the team’s top runners, Alex Jubert, has been out all season with an injury, but seniors Eli Olson and Chris Hinson and a large group of juniors have helped the team remain competitive. Dom Spatolisano, Dom Demaro, Nicholas Shavel, Harrison Barnett and Jacob Tarosky are the juniors who have been a major part of the success this year. All of them finished in the top 25 at WCCAs.

Spatolisano placed sixth and Olson was seventh.

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Olson ran the Cal course his freshman year, and he’s looking forward to having one final good run at WPIALs and possibly punch a ticket to Hershey for states.

“I hope some of us make it individually to states, but I also hope we can make it as a team,” Olson said. “That would be pretty neat. It would make the season a little longer. It would be a good way to end.”

Olson said the Cal course is known for its steep hills in the middle of the course. When it comes to preparation, Norwin is focused on being in on being in the best shape and not necessarily being worried on the course.

“We talk about peaking and the idea of peaking is largely mental,” Fleckenstein said. “You have to tell yourself your body is ready to go and that you’ve put in the work. You just have to tell your mind that. I think it will actually benefit us, because our boys team tended to start out fast (at Cooper’s Lake), but then they’d hit that hill at the beginning and it’d take too much out of them too early. Cal has hills, but they are more in the middle of the race.”