The Shady Side Academy Lower School Cross Country Team, comprised of 82 runners in grades 2-5 from both the Country Day School and Junior School, competed in its first meet of the season on Saturday, Sept. 10, against Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh at White Oak Park.
The runners compete by gender and grade. SSA's Novice girls (grades 2-3) finished in second place and Novice boys finished in third place. The JV girls (grades 4-5) finished in fourth place and the JV boys finished in third place.
This marks the first year that SSA is fielding a combined team with students from both lower schools; previously the Junior School fielded its own cross country team. Students practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, with CDS students running the trails around the 17-acre wooded CDS campus and JS students running the trails at Frick Park adjacent to campus. Then students from both schools come together to compete as one SSA Bulldogs team at meets on Sundays at various parks around the city, against other local private elementary schools.
The is overseen by Country Day School kindergarten teacher Karen DiFiore, who previously served as a physical education teacher at the Junior School for many years and started the Junior School's cross country team in 2017. DiFiore serves as the head coach for Country Day School students at practices and meets, with assistance from School Counselor Claudine Runnette and Visual Arts Teacher Colleen Mintkevitch. Junior School Junior Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Chase Walter serves as the head coach for Junior School students at practices and meets, with assistance from Kindergarten Teacher Nick Hammon, Senior Pre-K Teacher Melissa Petitto-Kenny, Senior Pre-K Teacher Carolyn Whitney, Junior Pre-K Teacher Ashley Pellegrino, Fifth Grade Teacher Christina Blazin, Learning Specialist Micaela Tucker and Third Grade Teacher Brandon Howe.
Congratulations to the team on a great start to the season!
View a photo slideshow below: