Tamaqua’s Stianche headed to Rider
Tamaqua’s Derian Stianche signs a letter of intent Thursday to run track at Rider University. With Stianche in the front row are his parents Rich and Jen Stianche. In the back row, from left, are Tamaqua principal Thomas McCabe, track and field and cross country coach Tom Kanger, sister Alexa Stianche, and athletic director Mike Hromyak. PATRICK MATSINKO/TIMES NEWS
Derian Stianche didn’t always see track and field in his future.
It was soccer that Stianche had his eye on.
Last season changed all that, as the Tamaqua senior discovered a passion away from the pitch.
Stianche enjoyed his most successful track and field campaign to date last spring. He was a member of two Raider relay teams (1600 and 3200) that won gold at the District 11 Class 2A meet, and turned in a solid performance in the 800 to place second and secure his place at states in three events.
“It definitely was soccer for a while, and last year, it kind of made it track for me at districts, just being able to see what I can do,” Stianche said. “It just really hit home that this is what I want to do.”
Those performances have served as motivation as Stianche prepares to begin his final season at Tamaqua.
They’ve also gone a long way toward securing his future in the sport, as Stianche announced on Thursday that he will continue his track and field career at Division I Rider University.
“It means a lot,” Stianche said. “It just shows what the hard work has done throughout the past couple of years. It feels amazing. I’m very blessed to have this opportunity to continue my career.
“Running track in college didn’t actually become a reality until the start of this year. I was going to go play soccer somewhere. And then senior year came around, and I was getting looks for track, and I wasn’t getting the offers for soccer. So I thought maybe I should look into track more.”
Stianche hasn’t lost his desire for soccer, nor has his interest wavered in any other sport.
He was named a Schuylkill League boys soccer Division I First Team All Star the past two seasons, while also competing on the cross country team. Stianche competed in the Footlocker Northeast Championships on Nov. 24, running in the Champions race.
“I think his time management, to be honest with you, because of the number of things he does,” Tamaqua cross country and track coach Tom Kanger said of what makes Stianche special. “He really gets a lot done in a short period of time, and that I think is super key.
“He put in a lot of extra time, a lot of time on his own, and it shows. To be competing at this level, obviously he’s very dedicated.”
Kanger has played a vital role in helping Stianche develop his abilities – and discover track and field.
“I didn’t run track my freshman year. Sophomore year came around, and I wasn’t going to come out again, and [Kanger] emailed both my parents and said, ‘Hey, get him out here,’” Stianche recalled. “So here I am now. It really helped out a lot.”
Stianche, also a state qualifier in 2017 with the 3200 relay team, has made the most of every opportunity along the way.
In addition to his stellar running and soccer abilities, Stianche is also a member of the varsity basketball team and the National Honor Society.
“I think the three sports, they really do help me keep my time management there, and my focus for school, because I know if I don’t do well in school, I can’t participate,” Stianche said. “So it definitely does help with the time management and focus, and work ethic.
“It was just a lot of compromise between the coaches, letting me do all this. And I had to throw school work on top, so I was doing school work on the busses during the JV games, after the meets, I was staying up later usually, so it was just a lot of work.”
Stianche, who also considered DeSales University, will study health sciences with an eye toward attending physical therapy school after graduation.
“He’s been awesome to have on the team,” said Kanger. “He’s going to leave a legacy here because some of the guys are already trying to follow his lead. That’s all you can ask for. He’ll be greatly missed.”
Stianche still has some business to take care of at Tamaqua before he moves on.
“I’m looking forward to my last season,” Stianche said, “and I’m just going to go out with a bang.”