LT’s Youtz named ‘Coach of Year’
BY SCOTT WALSH
Lackawanna Trail cross country coach Keith Youtz did the math, realized that District 2 deserved additional state berths in Class A boys and successfully fought to get them.
Instead of one team and five individuals heading to the PIAA Championships, the district would send two teams and 10 individuals to Hershey, thanks to Youtz’s efforts.
“I knew our team had a chance at being second-best in the district,” said Youtz, who has been chosen The Times-Tribune All-Region Coach of the Year. “But I didn’t do it just for our team. I just noticed it didn’t seem fair the way (the PIAA) the way they had teams qualifying for states.”
What Youtz wound up doing, though, was inadvertently put a little extra pressure on his boys squad to secure that second team berth.
“When we found out it went through and a second team was going to qualify for Class A boys, Holy Cross was coming on and looking better and better each week,” Youtz said. “I told the boys that they all had to run well.”
They did. After going 14-6 during the Lackawanna League regular season, the Lions finished second at the district meet in Class A to earn a trip to the states for the first time in school history as a team.
Led by junior Devon Clarke’s sixth-place finish, Trail put six runners in the top 23, separated by 1:29.
“I’m really happy with the way things ended up,” Youtz said. “Our top two were consistent all year. We needed to bring our Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 up closer. They all did it together in (the district) race.”
Besides the boys team, Trail also had a girls individual state qualifier in Class A in senior Kiernan Dougherty.