Former Pittston Area runners Kristen Lombardo and Olivia Lanza have taken over as coaches of the Wyoming Area cross country program.
Lombardo will serve as head coach and Lanza as her assistant. Both ran on the cross country and track teams for the Lady Patriots.
“We’re both really excited for this opportunity and the upcoming season,” Lombardo said.
The boys team returns the bulk of its lineup, but the girls are unlikely to compete as a team because they do not currently have the five runners that are minimum to post a team score.
Both return sophomores who were their top runners a year ago.
Michael Branley placed 48th out of 132 runners in the District 2 Class 2A boys meet as a freshman.
Juniors George Sharkey and Jacob Switzer, senior Nicholas Katulka and sophomore Jacob Katulka also return.
Sophomore Kyle Emsley and freshman Grant Smith, who ran well in junior high track season in the spring, are likely to complete the lineup.
“I think we are in a great position to really improve upon last year’s record and make some noise,” Lombardo said. “Having essentially all of our top runners return has been key when it comes to training because they know what it takes to push one another at practice.”
Lombardo said the Katulka brothers have provided an example for the team.
“They have been working very hard this summer and really building up their base mileage, which has already made itself apparent during workouts,” she said. “That has helped to give the other guys on the team some incentive to go out of their comfort zones and push the pace during workouts as well, which has been for the betterment of the team as a whole.”
Wyoming Area had five girl runners at the end of last season, but three graduated.
Sophomores Aubriana Marranca and Erika Holweg return.
Freshman Kaitlyn Malet and Ella Schultz join them and all four will compete as individuals is more runners are not added to make for a scoring team.
“From an individual standpoint, I think that each of them are primed to turn in some great races and personal bests,” Lombardo said. “Aubriana Marranca was a junior high standout and had a solid varsity debut last season as a freshman, so I think she’s capable of some really strong performances now that she has that year of experience under her belt.”
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