And I Thought I Was Biased

Below I wrote about Anna’s run at the District X Cross Country Championships. It was obviously not a piece of neutral, unbiased journalism, and I only wrote about one of the four races in the event, but hey, I’m a dad, so I can brag, right? Even with my obvious journalistic bias, I got pictures of the top five finishers in the race I covered.

Today’s Erie Times-News article about the event that was truly appalling in its failure to report the facts. You can find the article here.

Prep boys, Zarger a step ahead in D-10

BY MIKE COPPER [more details]

Published: October 28. 2007 6:00AM

SHARON — Lauren Zarger and Nick Marini shared Halloween colors at Saturday’s District 10 cross country meet.

Both wore orange and black – Zarger for Harbor Creek, Marini for Cathedral Prep.

The duo also shared in success at Sharon’s Buhl Park.

What differed was how that success transpired.

While Zarger won her third straight Class AA individual championship, Marini inspired the Ramblers to win the Class AAA boys title without taking a stride.

Marini had an emergency appendectomy Tuesday, which kept him off the starting line. Minus the senior, Prep coach Chet Moffett only entered five runners.

The quintet physically and emotionally filled Marini’s void.

Led by sophomore Michael Moore, Prep’s entries all placed in the top 20. The Ramblers qualified for the PIAA meet with 33 points and beat McDowell by 18.

“Wow,” a stunned Moffett said. “Nick had been our leader all year long in every aspect, so the guys knew what they had to do even before they ran. (Trojans coach) Jay Pratt has forgotten more about long-distance running than I’ll ever know, so to beat McDowell is a feat.”

Marini did lead one pack. He helped carry the Ramblers’ flag back to Prep’s tent, his teammates and the district trophy in tow.

“There was a chance I could’ve run, but it was a lot to come back from,” Marini said. “It was worth it to see my team win. They did what needed to be done.”

Marini announced he would be ready for Hershey, where the state meet will take place Saturday. He could cross paths with Zarger while there.

Zarger never was threatened after the course’s first loop and finished the 5-kilometer event in 19 minutes, 10 seconds. The Harbor Creek junior beat Union City freshman Rebecca Reichbaum (19:55) and Mercer senior Melissa Smith (19:56), considered one of Zarger’s few challengers.

Zarger, who finished third in last season’s PIAA race, is the top returnee for the AA field. She downplayed that fact in hopes it won’t affect this week’s preparations.

“Hopefully, a top five,” Zarger said, “but I just want to do as well as I have in the past. I know we’ll have some really good runners down there.”

Reichbaum would have qualified for Hershey as an individual. Instead, she will have company.

Union City placed two in the top 10 and finished first with 75 points. West Middlesex (100) and General McLane (173) also advanced as teams.

The Bears likely will travel to Hershey as the state’s third-ranked AA team, according to

“It’s going to be awesome,” Reichbaum said of her initial trip.

The North East, West Middlesex and General McLane boys were rated first through third in last week’s AA poll. Those teams all qualified for the state meet, but not in that order.

McLane edged West Middlesex, the defending PIAA AA team champ, by eight points for the district crown. The Lancers’ Dan Dillon overtook Big Red standout Adam Shrawder on the second loop and broke the tape in 16:39.

MIKE COPPER can be reached at 870-1614 or by e-mail.

[Note: The part of the article that appears below was on the internet, but not in this morning’s paper.]

Dillon became a district winner after only two years in the sport.

“This was redemption for last year,” said Dillon, who came in 31st last season at Sharon. “Really, I just wanted to get our team in good position to (win) the team championship because my teammates have been so supportive in pushing me.”

Meadville’s cross country program also returned home with team and individual honors.

The Bulldogs’ Andrew Geist and Richard Peterson finished 1-2 ahead of Prep’s Moore in the AAA race. Geist took advantage of Marini’s absence and crossed the finish line in 16:28, 30 seconds faster than his teammate.

Geist was the district runner-up in 2006.

“I’m pumped for all this,” the senior said. “Hopefully, I can finish in the top 10.”

The Meadville girls will return to Hershey as the AAA titlists. Elesia Wilson and Caitlyn Hancox finished second and third for a Bulldogs team that totaled 35 points.

Warren sophomore Katie Spade won her second individual trophy in 19:57.

The article mentioned the AA girls winner, Lauren Zarger, and has a good picture of her. It just barely mentioned Dan Dillon, the AA boys winner. The part of the article that appeared only on the website had more to say about him.

Katie Spade and Andrew Geist, the AAA boys and girls winners, did not even get their names in print. Instead, the bulk of the article was about Nick Marini, an athlete who did not even run because of an emergency appendectomy, but whose presence inspired the Cathedral Prep team to victory.

While his story is good for human interest, there was a sporting event that occurred, and it is really sad that Katie Spade and Andrew Geist did not even get their names in print.

The complete individual and team results can be found here at the Runner’s High website.


2 thoughts on “And I Thought I Was Biased

  1. Ugh. It’s not that I mind a little human interest thrown in, but all those paragraphs about someone who didn’t compete, at the expense of actually reporting the winners of an event?! If they wanted to cover the interesting (and relevant, since Nick has been such a large factor all season) story about Prep winning without Marini, well and good, but they should have allowed more print space for the article. If they simply didn’t have the print space, then the article’s priority should have been to report the outcome of the sporting event. Isn’t that what an article in the sports section is supposed to do?

    Now I know I’m venturing far into maternal bias here, but you would think the Times-News would have at least enough home town pride to include in the article the name of the only female city resident to qualify for PIAA in the AAA division. But barring that, at least include the winning team and individual in the division in the print article! Sheesh!

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