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Sports Article
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Pitcher Pacing Upper Perkiomen Cross County
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

          During an unofficial tryout for Upper Perkiomen's cross country team this summer, Gabriel Pitcher ran a mile on the high school track in less than six minutes. Head coach Todd Niemann instructed him to maintain an easy pace.

          "Gabriel didn't look tired," Niemann said. "He barely broke a sweat."

            After just two races, Pitcher has emerged as the Indians top performer. Last

Upper Perk senior Serena Deweiler leads a pack of run-

ners in the early part of the meet Stpe. 12, against Upper


week, the senior led them to a 21-37 victory over visiting Upper Merion in a Pioneer Athletic Conference meet. He finished first overall, posting a time of 18 minutes, 13 seconds. Lance Templeton (18:52), Donnie Miller (18:54), Blandin Conklin (19:00), Hunter Adlesberger (19:25) and William Daub (19:50) all finished in the top nine for the Indians.

            In the girls race, Serena Detweiler finished first overall. She finished in 21:51, 31 seconds against of Upper Merion's Veronica Sanchez. However, the visiting Vikings posted a 23-36 win.

            Niemann described Pitcher, who had never ran competitively before this season, as a natural long-distance performer.

            "Gabriel has a natural running build," the coach said. "He's got really strong legs. He enjoys running and he works hard."

           Pitcher, a Pennsburg resident, surprised himself with a seven-second margin of victory over Upper Merion's Jack Larkin. Niemann, however, said the performance was not unexpected.

            "Gabriel is an aggressive type of runner," the coach said. "He doesn't like to lose, and he is able to push himself."

            A transfer from the Emmaus Baptist Academy, Pitcher observed numerous runners on South Mountain in Emmaus, where he often walked with his family. "That's where I developed my stamina," he said.

            Without Pitcher, Upper Perkiomen's boys team finished 15th overall in the Northampton Invitational on Sept. 1. Templeton's 60th place finish, with a time of 17:56.01, set the pace. Miller (80th, 18:15.55), Conklin 92nd, 18:36.21), Hunter Adelsberger (94th, 18:37.60) and

            Lane Homan (107th, 18:50.40) rounded out the scoring.

            "We didn't think Gabriel was ready," Niemann said.

            Pitcher officially debuted at the Centaur Invitational on Sept. 8 at deSales University. He led the team by finishing 28th overall with a time of 18:08.64. Templeton (18:50.74) finished in 44th place. Conklin (19:07.15), Homan (19:10.14) and Dylan Simms (19:15. 72) finished 53rd, 54th and 56th, respectively.

            Niemann can't predict how far Pitcher will advance in the post season. The coach said he hopes to have a better idea by the end of the month.

            "I'm hoping Gabriel can at least compete for a medal at the conference meet," Niemann said.

            The boys team has the depth to be competitive in the conference, according to the coach. He said Templeton, a senior captain, has emerged an important leader.

            "Lance has really stepped up," Niemann said.

            Detwiler, a senior, is motivated to capture a second medal at districts and return to the state championship meet.  "This is my last year," she said "I want to finish strong."

            Against the Vikings, Detweilier dominated the field. Natalia Curley (23:20) and Alexa Banner (25:28) finished in the top eight for Upper Perkiomen.

            "Serena ran very well," the coach said. "I'm looking forward to what she can do in the post season. More than anything else, we need her to turn her body over faster to generate more speed."

            At the Northampton Invitational, Detweiler posted a time of 21:30.77, good for 43rd place. Curley, a sophomore, finished 68th overall.

            One week later, Detweiler improved to 30th place overall (22:07.39) at the race at deSales University. Curley (22:39.49) took 36th place in the invitational.






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