Stitzel hits milestone at N'western
Chris Stitzel doesn't keep track of his win-loss record. Luckily for him, assistant coach Tim Churetta does.
Stitzel, the 14th-year Northwestern cross country head coach, earned his 400th win on Sept. 27 when his girls team swept a Colonial League cluster meet while the boys picked up a pair of wins on the day. But he didn't learn of the milestone until long after the runners crossed the finish line.
"My assistant coach (Churetta) is the one who keeps those things," said Stitzel. "Every year he updates the records for the website and he didn't even realize it at first until he added in last week's scores.
"He actually didn't even tell me about it at first. He announced to the team that day last week after the meet that it was my 400th win. So, I had no idea at all."
Stitzel hands all the credit to the many talented runners he's coached.
"It is a great accomplishment," he said. "However, for me to get it in 13 years of coaching, it's a compliment to the kids. They come out every year. They come and work hard every practice and every meet.
"We are the ones that give them the workouts, but they're the ones doing all of the work. We're just there to push them along."
Stitzel never sought to earn milestones. He's a former cross country runner who enjoys the sport and helping his athletes run their best.
"Our goal every year is to get teams that will compete," said Stitzel. "We just have been blessed, especially with the girls' team the last couple of years - like the last three or four years - that we have been really dominating the league. I owe all of that to the girls. When we lose a couple of girls we have other girls that come in and step up. We just have been blessed with having these awesome girls' teams over the last couple of years.
"The boys, we have one mediocre year and then another year we're good. They all come out. They work hard and that's all we ask of them."
Two hundred and fifty-two of Stitzel's wins have come via the girls team while 148 were boys team wins.
Stitzel has coached the girls team to four Colonial League championships, one District 11 title, and a top five performances at states. He's even coached an individual state champ in 2010 graduate Lindsay Kerr.
Stitzel hopes the wins continue to pile up for years to come.
"Hopefully we can keep this winning attitude going," Stitzel stressed. "But, it's nice to see that people are noticing it. It's nice to see people following the sport of cross country and it's good to get that recognition a little bit."
RECORD BREAKING RUN ... Last Thursday, Marian's Phil Marzen fell a mere second short of tying the school course record in a boys cross country meet against Jim Thorpe.
The Colt junior crossed the finish line in first place against Jim Thorpe in a time of 18:52, which fell just short of Mike Legath's school record time of 18:51 that was set in 2009.
But Monday against Pottsville, in Marian's final home meet of the season, Marzen made sure his record-breaking effort wouldn't be denied as he smashed the old mark by nearly a half a minute. Marzen turned in a time of 18:26 against the Tide to officially place his name atop the Marian school record book.
SWEEP ... Straight game victories have been the theme for the Marian girls' volleyball team during this year's Schuylkill League regular season.
The Fillies are currently a perfect 10-0 in league play. In nine of those 10 victories, the Fillies have posted straight game 3-0 sweeps of their opponent.
The only team to steal any sets from the Fillies was Nativity back on Sept. 15th. In that match between the two perennial volleyball powers, the Fillies walked off the court with a 20-25, 25-16, 19-25, 25-15, 15-13 victory over the Golden Girls.
DOUBLE UP .... The District 11 Doubles Tennis Tournament will get underway this week at the West End Racquet and Fitness Center in Allentown.
On Thursday, the first two rounds of the Class AAA tourney will take place. Pleasant Valley's No. 1 doubles team of Lauren Heckelman and Sara Elmontacir will be the lone TIMES NEWS area team in the 32-team field. The Bears' duo will face Nazareth's No. 1 team of Cayleah Markulics and Simi Opeyemi in a first round match at 1 p.m.
On Friday, the Class AA tourney will hold its first two rounds. Three area teams are part of the AA field.
Tamaqua will be represented by its No. 1 doubles team of Carly Fenstermacher and Nicki Mateyak and also its No. 2 doubles team of Vicki Krouse and Taylor Urban. Representing Jim Thorpe will be the team of Gabby Kline and Carly Marzen. In first round matches at 1 p.m., Fenstermacher/Mateyak will face the Bethlehem Catholic team of Julia Atiyah and Taylor Treadwell. Krouse/Urban will meet the tourney's No. 3 seed of Kayla Bohnhorst and Courtnie Lambert of Saucon Valley. Kline/Marzen will face Blue Mountain's Hannah Heckman and Anne Schu.
Quarterfinal and Semifinal round matches in both classes will take place on Saturday. Finals and consolations in both classes are scheduled for Monday.
TEAM TENNIS ... The fields for the District 11 team tennis tournament were recently announced and Tamaqua is the only area team to make the field.
The Raiders were the 8th and final seed in Class AA. They will open the single-elimination tournament on Tuesday by traveling to top-seeded Moravian Academy.