Phoenixville junior Matt “Chia” Chiappetta recently had the opportunity to compete in the 2012 PIAA Class AA Cross Country Championships at the parkway Cross Country Course in Hershey.
The meet was held Saturday, Nov. 3, with Pioneer Athletic Conference member Pottsgrove capturing the Class AA team title.
“Initially, I didn’t think I would get to go,” said Chia. “I missed by one spot, but the guy in front of me (at the District 1 meet) fractured his foot.
“I got a call from (Phoenixville boys cross country coach Justin) Winters the next morning. I started trembling for half an hour. I was very excited.”
Chia finished in 130th place out of some 218 runners in his division. His time was in the 18:50 range.
“It wasn’t my best time,” said Chia. “The course was really hilly. It was rough, to put i thtat way. It was the most difficult course I have ever run on.”
Besides Chia’s efforts, the Phoenixville boys team captured fourth place at the district meet at Lehigh University in Bethlehem on Friday, Oct. 26. Twelve teams competed in the Class AA district meet.
“Each one of my teammates ran their best at districts,” said Chia. “Next year I plan to take my entire team to states if I can go again, hopefully.”
Phoenixville, a small school, was able to fare better in Class AA while competing against schools more its size rather than against bigger Class AAA squads as the Phantoms have done in some previous years.
“It started out like a dogfight,” said Chia. “There was some positioning, but afterward I was able to move up. I wasn’t running with any one group of guys. There were a total of nine hills. They were big hills and I started to lose guys. I was always running with a new group of people throughout the race.”
Chia considered the state meet a “big learning experience.”
He said there was some nice scenery in the Hershey area with Hershey Park as well as the Giant Center.
“There were a lot of up and down hills,” said Chia.
Winters instructed Chia going into the week to prepare for the race by building up distance and then resting at the end of the week.
“That Friday I kept it easy,” said Chia. “I did a 15-minute jog.”
He scaled down from a 96-minute run Thursday.