The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

Latrobe Cross Country Runner makes History


In the 2023 Cross Country Pennsylvania state championships, the Wildcat team had 4 runners represent the school, Steve Janke, Charlie Heese, Carley Berk, and Emerson Skatell. The girls ran in the AAA brackets and the boys ran in the A brackets. The runners all raced on the Park View Cross Country Course at Hershey Park. The race was on Saturday, November 4, 2023 the weather during the race was perfect clear and cool running conditions. The course was in surprisingly good shape for this time of year. These perfect course conditions and weather set the Wildcat runners up for success and gave them an opportunity to have a great race.

Junior runner Emerson Skatell took full advantage of these great conditions as her placement in the championships gave her a medal. She is the first runner from Latrobe to medal at states in 15 years.

The Boys in the AA bracket were up against some tough competition and had to fight for every spot. Steve finished in 92nd out of 250. Charlie battled through an injury and came in at 236th. Both boys will return next season and hope to continue their success from this year.

A look at Emerson as she celebrates with her medal after the race.

The girls in the AAA bracket had a lot of success as Carley Berk had an impressive day and finished with a spot at 68th out of 237 runners. Emerson Skatell was incredible in her race, and she finished with a time of 19:12. This time was good enough for 20th in the state and she earned herself a medal. The winner in the girl’s bracket was less than a minute in front of Emerson, as Logan St. John-Kletter from Mt. Lebanon had a time of 18:13. Emerson only finishing 59 seconds behind the state champion gives her a ton of confidence going into her senior season next year. Emerson said, “I’m really excited for my senior year, I have one last chance to improve my placement in states. My goal for next year is to make it into the top ten, and this year just gave me the confidence to show myself that I can do that.”

Emerson has received a ton of support from her teammates and coaches after her incredible performance and they continue to try to help and push her to be better for next year. Emerson Spoke about her teammates and coaches’ help throughout this season. “I love our team, we are all really close together, just being able to run with them every day makes me better. We are all very supportive and we all just want the best for each other.”

The Latrobe cross country team has had a lot of success in the past with a team state championship in the year 2008. The program is looked upon highly by coaches, parents, and even the runners themselves. Before this year though the program hadn’t had a runner medal in 15 seasons. Emerson spoke on how she thinks this team can reinstall winning ways to the program. “I think we definitely have a chance of taking 4 kids to states again or even more next year. We all work really hard and I think we can all just keep improving and keep getting better as a team,”said Emerson.

Coaching from Todd Simpson, who has coached all kinds of amazing athletes through his years at the school, has been a big part of Emerson’s confidence and success. Simpson was the coach of the team in 2008 when his runners took the team state title and was proud to coach runner Natalie Toman who was the last runner to medal 15 years ago before Emerson this season. Natalie went on to run for the cross-country team at Penn State and continued success there. Simpson having coached talented runners like this and talented teams before gives his runners all the confidence in the world towards him. Emerson spoke on his role in her season this year, “It’s really helpful because he always believes in me and he is always there cheering me on. I know that the work he has us put in every day at practice is him trying to strive to get us all better”

All four runners from the wildcats that went to the state championships this season will be returning next year, and they will be coming back with boosted confidence. The team hopes to have lots of success next year while building on all the talent and confidence coming from this season. Everyone on the coaching staff and team looks forward to working with Emerson in her senior year, to see what kind of mark she can leave on the team after such an impressive, history-making, junior season.

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About the Contributor
Ryan Baughman
Ryan Baughman, Staff Writer
Ryan Baughman is a junior at Greater Latrobe highschool. He is 16 years old and is part of the Highpost team at Latrobe. Ryan is a huge sports fan and is able to contribute to the highpost team with many posts about the sporting events going on at school. Ryan is also apart of the Golf team here at Latrobe and is able to write and post about matches and other news regarding the team. Ryan plans on going to a college after highschool to major in journalism and hopes to later on in life continue to write about sports for a bigger audience like he does now for the high post team. This is Ryan’s first year on the high post team and is very excited to learn the ways to write good stories and learn his place on this talented high post team. Ryan works outside of school at Giannilli’s restaurant, he started working there just a few weeks ago. Ryan enjoys golfing for fun outside of school as well and spends most of his nights at the course trying to improve for school matches. He also enjoys spending time with family and friends on the weekends and sitting down to watch college football and NFL games. His favorite teams are the Penn state Nittany Lions and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ryan can’t wait to get this year started and share all of his work throughout the next few months. 

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