Greg Thomas, Katie Kelly are top individuals. LaSalle is favored boys team, while girls team title is a fight between St. Hubert's, O'Hara, Prendie and Carroll
by Tom Kennedy, Cardinal O'Hara head coach
O'Hara's leadership mantle falls to junior Greg Thomas. Finishing 2nd at last year's Championship, Thomas ran the PCL's 5th fastest Belmont 5K time ever (16:05). The only PCL athlete's to have run faster are Steve Hallinan (O'Hara, 15:42, 03), Tim O'Neill (St. Joe's Prep, 15:49, 03),
1992 Footlocker Finalist Brendan Benner (Bonner, 16:??) and Sean Duffy (O'Hara, 16:04, 2000). The boys in gold posted a banner season last fall, going undefeated against every Pennsylvania team it faced, receiving the highest ranking among PA schools in The Harrier Regional Rankings and winning the PCL title. The league victory pulled the plug on Cardinal O'Hara's league streaks in XC (3) and XC, Indoor and Outdoor Track (9). This fall, LaSalle will enter Belmont Plateau as the clear favorites to win the Philadelphia Catholic League crown in cross country.
Runners To Watch
Greg Thomas (O'Hara) - Finishing 2nd at last year's Championship, Thomas ran the PCL's 5th fastest Belmont 5K time ever (16:05). The only PCL athlete's to have run faster are Steve Hallinan (O'Hara, 15:42, 03), Tim O'Neill (St. Joe's Prep, 15:49, 03), 1992 Footlocker Finalist Brendan Benner (Bonner, 16:??) and Sean Duffy (O'Hara, 16:04, 2000).
Thomas enters the fall campaign standing among impressive historical company. Though dogged by injuries last spring, Thomas still posted fast track times. If he's healthy this fall, the individual crown is his.
With Thomas looking like the front runner, the following athletes make up the chase pack. If Thomas falters, look for one of these guys to come barreling after him.
Sean McGinley (LaSalle) The senior was impressive all last year and forced an injured Thomas to lunge at the line to beat him for 2nd in the PCL 3200 outdoor (9:41.63 to 9:41.86). As returnee #2, McGinley looks like the leader of the talented LaSalle pack and has enough talent and toughness to make a bid for an individual crown.
Mark Burgmann (Roman) - The senior gives Roman Catholic its first legitimate front man in years. Burgmann had a consistent cross country season, topping out at 16:58 last fall. He followed that up with several sub-10 3200's in the spring including at 4th place 9:53.77 at Outdoor League's in 93 degree heat. Burgmann and his Cahillite pack may be able to contend for league crowns this fall.
Bob McCullough (LaSalle) - The junior won the JV race handily last year, but was more impressive at Outdoor Champs where he posted a
9:59.84 3200 in searing heat. Definitely a key pack member for LaSalle, but could also break out as an individual.
Kevin O'Hara (St. Joe's Prep) - Consistent all last year, junior O'Hara represents the Hawklets best front running hope to lead a typically solid Prep cross country team. O'Hara is returnee #3 from last year's championships.
Matt Toldero (O'Hara) - Toldero has been varsity at O'Hara since he was a frosh despite being plagued with injuries in each season. A gamer who turns it on for big meets, Toldero finished 16th last year and is returnee #4.
Dan McDevitt and Kevin Wellman (Bonner) - The Friars junior duo are returnee's #5 and #9, respectively, from last year's championships and form the beginning of another solid Bonner cross country team.
McDevitt ran 17:08 at Belmont last fall.
Pat Jeffers, Pat Regan, Tim Heck, Tim Shea, Ed Bonnevie, (LaSalle) - Here's the heart of LaSalle's depth: returnees #7, #11, #12, #15, and #21, respectively. Junior Jeffers was a consistent part of the killer LaSalle pack last fall and ran 17:08. Regan took 2nd in the PCL JV race, Heck dominated the PCL Frosh race, Shea was 4th in the JV race and Bonnevie 2nd in the Frosh race.
Dan Bezotsky, Dan Keefe, Vincent Mundy (Roman) - All seniors, Bezotsky is returnee #10 from last year's champs, Keefe ran 17:16 last fall and Mundy is returnee #26. Meet the Roman Catholic pack that could take a run at LaSalle and O'Hara.
Ryan Kincaide (Carroll) - One of the most versatile distance track performers in the league, Kincaide could make a huge jump this season in XC. He is returnee #13 from last season's championships and ran 17:19 on Belmont. Has the ability to be top 5 in the league.
Andrew Buemi (O'Hara) - The sophomore qualified for the Freshman Mile at the Nike Indoor Championship last winter and is returnee #14 from last year's fall championship. Buemi was the highest freshmen finisher in the varsity championship (26th).
Bill Salamone (Wood) - Talented senior ran 17:14 during the regular season but posted an off day in the championdhip race.
Larry Berner and Kevin Robinson (Judge) - A senior and junior, respectively, the Judge duo are returnees #16 and #17. Robinson was impressive in the spring, making both the Mile and 3200 finals, placing 7th in the Mile.
Boys Teams To Watch
LaSalle - The boys in gold posted a banner season last fall, going undefeated against every Pennsylvania team it faced, receiving the highest ranking among PA schools in The Harrier Regional Rankings and winning the PCL title. The league victory pulled the plug on Cardinal O'Hara's league streaks in XC (3) and XC, Indoor and Outdoor Track (9).
This fall, LaSalle will enter Belmont Plateau as the clear favorites to win the Philadelphia Catholic League crown in cross country. While losing front-man Joe Fedorowicz and valued senior All Catholics Kyle Rodden, Steve Horvath, Chris Ross and Pat O'Neill, LaSalle returns a strong team, similar to last season's. Six of the PCL's top 15 returnees from last year's Championships wear LaSalle uniforms and 8 of the top 30 returnees add to LaSalle's depth. Look for McGinley and McCullough to lead a tightly bunched pack featuring Jeffers, Regan, Heck, Shea, Bonnevie and Pat Costello.
Cardinal O'Hara - After Thomas, the Lions look intriguing and unpredictable. While most of O'Hara's returnees were handled impressively in the last year's championships by LaSalle's returnees, there appear to be more O'Hara prospects that could help the cause than LaSalle has. The Lions have solid cross country runners in Toldero and Buemi. Those most likely to join the pack attack include: Matt Willard, returnee # 20, who finished 2nd to Hallinan in the spring 800 final (1:58.57) and Charlie McNulty returnee #21, who finished 6th in the outdoor mile final (4:35.37). Distance runners Kevin Campbell and Matt DiCarlo saw varsity action prior to the PCL Championship last year. And then, there's the Lions gaggle of half-milers between 2:00 and 2:05:
Matt Van Thuyne, Matt Berrodin, Dan Brown and Ryan McShay. 800 meter runners will have to prove they can tackle Belmont to take on LaSalle if the Lions are to climb back atop the victory podium.
Roman Catholic- The Cahillites keep moving up each year. 10th in 2001, 6th in 2002, and 4th in 2003. With the right amount of guys stepping up, Roman could challenge for the top spot this year. Burgmann will lead the charge along with the pack of Keefe, Bezotsky and Mundy.
The small school has received nods of respect from league rivals not only for their continued upward improvement, but for the large numbers they carry on the team. They'll need to add pack strength from those numbers. They are the newcomers into the fray ~ for the past couple of years, the same 6 teams have occupied the top 6 spots. They have cracked that barrier. Is this the year they could rush the whole league?
Monsignor Bonner - Finishing 3rd in last year's championship, the Friars have no plans on going anywhere but up. Led by McDevitt, Wellman and junior Max Massaro, Bonner has some incoming freshmen that may be able to help the team cause immediately. The Friars do have a difficult task in front of them however, as they lost senior front men Dave McGuire and Mark Simpson, along with senior Joe McDevitt.
Archbishop Carroll - Can Carroll make a serious bid among the league's best teams this year? The pieces are there. Despite the graduation of distance giant Mike Tilger, the Patriots counter with Kincaide, talented brothers John and Pat Savoy, returnee #28 Chris Tilger, and returnee #29 Tom Corcoran. Depth could be an issue for Carroll.
St. Joseph's Prep - The Hawklets have always been a solid cross country squad and this year should be no different. Their losses to graduation are substantial: O'Neill, Joe Kelly (17:03 on Belmont) and Will Connor (17:15 on Belmont). But they do come back with the consistent O'Hara, junior Peter Grant and senior Andrew Marshaleck. The Hawklets have the ability to stay in the top 5, but a run at the title would require significant stepping up.
Archbishop Ryan - Ryan was hit hard by graduation, losing consistent First Team All Catholics Dennis O'Connor and Paul Matuszak.
To think Ryan is going to go into hiding would be a mistake, as they readily re-load each year. No doubt that Coach Ed Ulmer, who has won more PCL titles than any other coach in league history, will introduce new, unknown talent that will impress this fall.
Archbishop Wood - An interesting team this year, the Vikings bring back Salamone for his final fall campaign along with a decent supporting cast. Sophomore Kevin Rane was the 2nd highest freshmen finisher in the varsity race last fall (36th), along with returnee #27, Nils Abrams. Wood is looking to improve over their 8th place finish last year.
Father Judge - Judge was in a rebuilding year last fall, finishing 9th, but improvement and returning varsity runners may have them headed back towards the top 5. Robinson and Berner are solid runners backed up by seniors Chris Prybella and Kevin Horvay.
by Anthony Carr, Archbishop Prendergast head coach
Katie Kelly, O'Hara is the favorite for individual honors in the girls'
PCL race, while St. Hubert's, O'Hara, Prendie and Carroll will mix it up for team honors.
There is going to be a changing of the guard this season in the PCL girls picture. Three-time league champ Amy Kelly, St. Hubert's, has moved on to college. There will be plenty of good runners to choose from as her heir.
The individual favorite would likely be Kate Kelly of Cardinal O'Hara.
She was 2nd in 2003. Another runner to watch is Kelli Fierras of Archbishop Prendergast. She finished 5th last year in her first year of cross country.
In the team race, St. Hubert's returns five from the top 15 while Cardinal O'Hara has a great incoming freshman class, loaded with talent.
This group includes Kate Kelly's sister, Beth, along with the coach's daughter, Kate McShay. Archbishop Prendergast and Archbishop Carroll will also be a factor as the championship races near.