Fainor leads team at league championships
Kyle Gonoude may no longer be sporting Salisbury’s blue and white while leading packs of high school runners on cross country courses. But the DeSales University freshman is still having an impact on the Falcons’ runners.
Perhaps none more than current Salisbury senior Joseph Fainor.
Like Gonoude, Fainor enjoys running courses that feature hills and steep terrain. So, when DeSales altered their course a bit for last week’s Colonial League Cross Country Championships that eliminated the biggest hill at the end of the course, Fainor wasn’t sure how that would affect his race. Even without the hill, Fainor capped a successful race with a 16th-place finish in 18:35.46, Salisbury’s top competitor on both the girls and boys side.
“It was a struggle this year because I didn’t have anybody to really run with,” said Fainor, who saw Gonoude at the league championships and at a previous DeSales meet. “But he [Gonoude] would constantly check in on me and motivate me.
“That was basically the biggest difference because there was no last hill that I would pass people on. I like more of the hillier courses, so I don’t know if I don’t like that. But it was still a good race.”
Fainor’s main goal was to progress upwards from last season’s league meet, where he finished in 24th place.
“I came in hoping to improve my place in the league,” Fainor said. “I kind of started out a little slower and got cut off by some people, but I continued to persevere and push through and catch up towards the end.”
Fainor is confident enough to go out with the front of the pack and remain comfortable throughout the race. But when he goes out as the top runner, he believes that might be too quick. He found a happy medium last Wednesday.
“I like to stay with the lead pack, [but] I don’t like to really be in the front,” Fainor said. “I learned from last week that I should not be first because I went out too fast and lost it.”
Joe Busolits (72nd), Cole Warmkessel (74th), Josh Oswald (88th), Ryan Fainor (93rd), Matthew Fainor (100th), Nathan Reed (109th) and Cameron Moyer (111th) rounded out the boys finishers.
Brooke Rogers led the girls’ race with a 30th-place finish in a time of 23:21.52. Like Fainor, Rogers wanted to improve on last year’s finish with districts waiting on Wednesday at Bethlehem Municipal Golf Club.
“I just wanted to improve my time from last year on this course, because I know this is one of the hardest courses I’ve faced from the past years,” Rogers said.
After hanging around the front of the pack early on, Rogers began to lose ground by the time the second mile hit. The Falcon junior put together an impressive finish to the course by passing five runners in the closing stretch.
“I took it out a little too fast,” Rogers said. “I was trying to see the limits I had in the beginning because I’m trying to let it all out now. During the second mile I really started losing it, and girls started to catch up on me.”
Like Fainor, Rogers believes the hills work in her favor. It’s tough to imagine how much the outcome would have changed if that final hill was still a part of DeSales’ course last week.
“I do benefit from the hills,” Rogers said. “I try to push myself harder up them because downhill is sort of hard for me.”
Sydney Utesch (55th), Ruby Weiner (61st), and Meghan Raub (64th) all had solid outings as well against the Colonial League’s top competitors.
Palmerton’s Zach Svetik led the boys’ pack in 17:57.58, while Notre Dame-Green Pond won the championship. Saucon Valley’s Kiele Riefenstahl toped the girls field; Northwestern won the team title.