Cross country looking for recognition

By Carli Pio
October 9, 2003

Steph Mangold

Already halfway through its season, Cabrini’s cross country team is looking ahead not only to competing in the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference, but also to finally being recognized by the school that they compete for. “We don’t have a cross country team…do we?” freshman Jessica Baliski said. Baliski was unaware of the 10 people that make up the men’s cross country team and the three young ladies that are a part of the women’s cross country team.

“We really don’t get a lot of advertisements on campus for our meets. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that none of our meets are on campus,” junior Shaun Smith said. The Cabrini cross country team, who does not have its own track on campus, competes at Fairmount Park for all of its home meets. “It’s sad that nobody comes out to any of our meets,” Smith said. “Our only fans are the occasional parents and our coach.”

“I bet if we won PACs we still wouldn’t get any notice,” junior Matt Dzuryachko said. Dzuryachko, who has been running on the team since his freshman year, could be described in a way no other than frustrated while commenting on how the team’s year has been shaping up. “The guy’s team is getting better each week and we can’t wait for PACs,” Dzuryachko said. “But it’s kind of hard to keep pushing yourself when it seems your school isn’t even behind you because it doesn’t even know who you are.”

As for the women’s team, it has yet to qualify in a meet this season. PAC cross country rules indicate that you must have five team members to be able to compete in a race. That leaves the Lady Cav’s two members short from being able to apply everything that it worked so hard for during training season and throughout the entirety of the year.

“Those girls deserve a lot of credit,” Dzuryachko said. “They can’t qualify; they can’t even score, but they continue to run each week because they love and want to.”

Smith has a lot of praise for head coach Tom O’Hara. This year was the start of O’Hara’s 19th season coaching cross country at Cabrini.

“He’s got a lot of experience. He knows what he’s doing and the workouts that he has us doing, improves us more every week,” Smith said.

Five years after beginning his coaching career at Cabrini, O’Hara was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame after a very successful running career. “Coach pushes us by showing us that none of us have reached our full potential,” Smith said. Dzuryachko said, “Our coach is great at keeping us focused on what we need to do. Between our coach and our teammates, we find ways to keep going.”

Posted to the web by Stephanie Mangold.

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Carli Pio

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