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Chasing States

Cole Scattergood (left), Lillian DiCola (center), and Rocco Pugliese (right) at District One Championships at Lehigh University.

As the fall sports season came to an end for some, it was just getting started for a few Hatter cross country runners. Seniors Rocco Pugliese and Cole Scattergood along with junior Lillian DiCola competed at the PIAA State Championships on Saturday, November 4th in Hershey, PA.

Leading up to the State Championship, on Friday, October 20th, the boys team won Suburban One League Championships with Rocco placing second and Cole placing third. The girls’ team came in second place as a team with Lillian placing first overall. 

District One Championships were held Friday, October 27th. Lillian placed fifth with a time of 18:03.2, Cole placed 18th with a time of 15:41.7, and Rocco placed 36th with a time of 15:58.9.  These efforts qualified them to run at PIAA State Championships. 

All three runners have an amazing amount of dedication and passion to the sport and had great regular seasons, consistently finishing in the top ten at dual meets.

DiCola started running in third grade, inspired by her older brother Brian DiCola. It’s now her third year making it to the State Championships.  Last year she even raced with the flu and still placed 14th. Dicola said, “It’s very rewarding [to qualify] and to see what I can do is very exciting.”  She added that she was most excited to be there again and to be able to see her little brother, Ben DiCola, race for LaSalle College High School. 

Scattergood, who made the State Championships for winter track last year, only started cross country this year. He remarked, “It’s really fun; it’s only my first year so it’s really cool to be able to experience this and it’s something that I love.” Scattergood said he was inspired to start cross country because he loves to run and gave some credit to his brother: “My brother does it and I love it. I loved winter and spring track last year so that’s kind of what inspired me too.”

This year is also Pugliese’s first time making the State Championships after missing by six places last year. He reflected, “It feels pretty good since I was so close last year. The placing was disappointing because I was sick during that day so I didn’t have the best race but it’s good because I can prove myself during States.” 

The trio shared their keys to success with me. Scattergood said his key is to stay happy and love what you do; “If you don’t love track or cross country, if you’re not obsessed with it, there’s no way you’re going to be as good as anyone else.” DiCola said her mindset is: “If i’m not thinking about the race correctly, it doesn’t execute correctly.” Pugliese said “Trust the training and if one race doesn’t go well use that as motivation for the next race and future races.  A lot of kids doubt themselves after having a bad race and keep performing poorly instead of using that to motivate them.”

They also talked about how they deal with pressure during their races. Scattergood said it’s a mental game: “Just like self-talk; it’s really a mental game so just motivating yourself.”  DiCola talked about how easy it is for negative thoughts to get in her head during a race: “It’s really just mindset so I can execute as long as my mind allows me to; so I’m always telling myself not to have my mind hold me back.” Pugliese mentioned it’s more about preparation before the race:  “If you can not think about the race before it usually helps you out during the race mentally and physically.”

Along with their keys to success and how to handle pressure, they also shared their motivation. Scattergood mentioned his love for running saying, “My parents are there to motivate me but I’m doing this because I love it.” DiCola said she wants to prove herself: “..for people to know who I am for my abilities and make a name for myself.” Pugliese brought up his teammates saying …“being there with the team and my teammates looking up to me.” 

Out of 237 female finishers, Lillian placed sixth with a time of 18:43 bringing home a medal. Out of 239 male finishers, Cole placed 34th with a time of 16:42 making him first in the league and Rocco placed 113th with a time of 17:29.

Lillian DiCola (left), Cole Scattergood (center), and Rocco Pugliese (right) at PIAA State Championships at Hershey, PA.
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About the Contributor
Alexis Avallon, Staff Reporter
What is a favorite hobby of yours: Painting What do you look forward to working with The Hat Chat: Interviewing people and always writing about something different What college do you want to go to: University of Michigan What's an interesting fact about yourself: I’m usually always talking about hockey or baseball, and I love to travel

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    Ann RNov 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    Congratulations to all of you. Great article.