South Fayette harrier kicks the competition
During the Red, White and Blue Classic, Sam Snodgrass kicked it up a notch. The South Fayette senior not only distanced himself from the competition in winning the cross country race, he shattered the school record with his time of 15:30.
“His footspeed gives him his ability,” South Fayette coach Joe Winans said.
Footspeed made all the difference as Snodgrass “outkicked” the field, edging North Allegheny’s Daniel McGoey, who finished as runner-up in 15:30.7 and Chartiers Valley’s Czar Tarr, who took third in 15:33.
“The kick that I had at the end pretty much won the race for me and was a direct result of me working on my footspeed,” Snodgrass said. “To really get that kick in the end. I knew I had better footspeed than anybody else around me so I thought if I picked it up I’d possibly get that win.”
Because Snodgrass picked it up during his training in the spring, he has forged ahead of the pack. In fact, he is currently ranked second in the state of Pennsylvania for 5K competition. During the outdoor track season, Snodgrass focused on the 800- and 400-meter races. He also finished runner-up in 1600 run during the WPIAL championships.
“To increase foot speed basically you have to spend a whole season developing that kick at the end of races,” explained Snodgrass. “You do a lot of striders and run more fast-paced races other than long distances.”
Snodgrass loves fast races as much as he enjoys cross country treks. Because his 4-by-800 relay team was “good” this spring, he liked that event as well. But he said that the 800 is a “fun event” and probably one of his favorites. “I enjoy that race,” Snodgrass said. “It’s more a sprint than anything. It’s a real test of strength.”
The Red, White and Blue meet tested the strength of runners like Snodgrass because
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South Fayette moved up a division to compete. The Lions compete in the Class AA division during WPIAL and PIAA events but opted to race in the Class AAA division.
“Honestly, I looked at the competition and had really high hopes,” said Snodgrass, who was looking to place fifth or lower in the race. “It was kind of a surprise to win but I knew I could possibly get that as well.”
In the next few weeks, Snodgrass is looking to do well against the Class AA competition at the PA Foundation Meet. On Oct. 26, the WPIAL championships are held at Coopers Lake and on Nov. 4, the PIAA championships are held in Hershey. Last fall, Snodgrass finished fifth in the WPIAL and sixth in the PIAA.
“The goal is to win the state championship. I want to win (the WPIAL) too,” he said but added he’s been thinking about states since his freshman year. “That’s my dream. The PIAA would be a dream come true. That would be the coolest thing ever.”
And while winning the RWB is pretty cool, it’s also given Snodgrass the boost he needs to pursue that objective. He noted that four of the top six finishers from last year’s PIAA championships graduate. So the title could come down to him and another kid as well as a few people that were behind him that have stepped it up this year.
“After this race,” Snodgrass said, “I think I can compete with them for sure.”
Winans added, “Sam is tough but there are a lot of quality guys out there. He has experience and we are expecting a lot out of him. He’s been more responsive and more resilient. We think he’ll be peaking well by the end of the year. We have visions of good things ahead.”
As a team, the Lions finished 14th overall but they were the top Class AA team. All the squads ahead of them are grouped in Class AAA for the district and states. In addition to Snodgrass, Colin Dunn and Silas Mays finished in the Top 90. Ryan Hayes, Trevor Kulenich, Harmon Rozycki, Sam Grant, Aaron Skerbetz, Drew Whiteside and Gavin Parisi rounded out South Fayette’s field of varsity runners for the meet.
Lebo wins title
The Mt. Lebanon boys captured the team title in Class AA. The Blue Devils won with 88 points followed by Morgantown (95), Seneca Valley (104) and North Allegheny (152).
Patrick Anderson and Peter Cosentino placed ninth and 10th overall with 16:02.80 and 16:03.40 times. Alex Brokaw followed in 16th position and Cameron Potts was 23rd. Thomas Cosentino and Jack Cameron were Lebo’s fifth and sixth harriers in 32nd and 33rd places. Matyt Sullivan, David Deniziuk and Clark Mitchell rounded out Lebo’s varsity.