Clemson wins SL boys cross country title
Jim Thorpe’s Chris Valdez finished ninth in the boys race on Wednesday. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Brad Clemson of Tamaqua won the Schuylkill League boys cross country championship. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Weatherly’s Scotty Zoscin finished second in the Schuylkill League boys cross country race. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
TUSCARORA – The autumn season hasn’t taken full hold as of yet — one can say it’s a late bloomer.
One can also say that about Brad Clemson, a senior Tamaqua cross country runner.
In this his final chance to claim a gold medal at the Schuylkill League championships, Clemson darted to the finish line in a time of 16:38, five seconds ahead of a rising star in freshman Scotty Zoscin.
To Clemson it was well worth the wait.
“I woke up this morning and said to myself, ‘This is your last chance. Make it a good one and give it your all.’”
He then went out and did exactly that.
“Brad had a great season and he has taken this team as far as we could go,” said veteran Tamaqua head coach Tom Kanger. “We had a lot of first-year seniors and we’ve improved over the year, and Brad was their leader. He brought them along as far as they could go.”
Clemson was humble about his victory, noting that the top spot was up for grabs.
“You can have five different races, and five different runners could win,” he said. “We’re all that close.”
The Wreckers’ Zoscin, North Schuylkill’s Sean McCabe, Pine Grove’s Travis Anderson, and Tri-Valley’s Wayne Reilly were the top five finishers that Clemson was talking about.
Clemson’s game plan wasn’t out of the ordinary. He knew that the pitfall here at this hilly course, lay at the start of the 3.1-mile run.
“A lot of runners come to that first hill and they take off. They run as fast as they can and hit the grass and die.”
Clemson didn’t fall into that trap.
“The last half mile was all guts. I was running with Mahanoy’s Adam Soriano and we were setting a good pace. I just didn’t want to get out to fast.”
Meanwhile, Zoscin turned in an impressive performance of his own impressive as he kept the heat on Clemson and finished in a time of 16:43.
Sam Hydro of Jim Thorpe was the third local finisher. Hydro’s time of 17:03 was good enough for a seventh place finish and a medal. Olympian teammate Chris Valdez finished ninth in 17:06.
Brandon Stasulli paced Marian with a time of 18:02 that was good enough for 23rd place.
“We were steady all season long, but just not good enough,” said Marian head coach Tom Kostic about his team’s sixth place finish.
Lehighton’s top runner was Anthony Tavella who finished 22nd with a time of 17:59.
SPARTANS TOP TEAM ... North Schuylkill captured the top spot among the boys, outdistancing second place Mahanoy Area. Among area schools, Jim Thorpe was third, Tamaqua was fifth, Marian was sixth, Lehighton was eighth and Weatherly took 10th.
SCHUYLKILL LEAGUE BOYS
at Tuscarora State Park
Top 5 Finishers
1. Brad Clemson (T) 16:38, 2. Scotty Zoscin (W) 16:55, 3. Sean McCabe (NS) 16:48, 4. Travis Anderson (PG) 16:55, 5. Wayne Reilly (TV) 17:00.
Other Local Finishers
7. Sam Hydro (JT) 17:03, 9. Chris Valdez (JT) 17:16, 22. Anthony Tavella (L) 17:59, 23. Brandon Stasulli (MC) 18:02), 25. Derian Stianche (T) 18:08.