When Northampton Middle School eighth grader Kyleigh Straub decided to run cross country, she did it for the sake of her soccer game, but unexpected rewards came on the cross country course when Straub won every race, invite, and regular season meet over the last two years.
“I just decided to do it out of nowhere,” Straub said. “I honestly fell in love with it. I think it’s the individuality, that I can do it by myself, but I also have the support of my team.”
Straub remembers her first meet clearly. It was the 2015 Northampton Invitational.
“I was nervous out of my mind,” she said. “I was this little seventh grader going against eighth graders.”
Perhaps Straub’s nerves worked in her favor, as her victory would be the first of every race in which she competed.
“It was shocking. I was so happy, so surprised,” said Straub. “I had no idea how good I was going to be.”
Straub, in fact, has been so good that she is the co-record holder with Lyndsey Gallagher on Northampton’s home course with a time of 11:51.
“It was crazy because I had no idea,” Straub said. “I looked at the awards sheet [last year], and I couldn’t believe it.”
Of course, Straub’s win streak does make for a target of sorts on the eighth grader.
“Most definitely. Coaches will come up to me, and they’ll say we’ll try to beat you next time,” said Straub. “Always, my first thought in a race is to get out, start up, and come out up.”
The sport of cross country has given Straub two main things.
“Endurance,” Straub said, “and the bonds you make with people during the season. It’s amazing who you meet.”
At Northampton’s cross country banquet on Nov. 10, Straub received the girls’ middle school gold award.
Rebekkah Gilicki was the girls’ middle school silver award recipient, and Georgia Wiswesser received the girls’ middle school bronze award.
Northampton cross country coach Dan Benner said, “All three worked together to form a strong 1,2, and 3 this season.”
Brianna Tyler was awarded top seventh grade girl, Madelyn Geisner was awarded most improved middle school girl, and the middle school girls’ summer award was presented to Noelle Eisenreich.
“Our middle school boys also had a very strong season, winning the Northampton Invite and finishing second as a team at the Patriot Invite,” said Benner.
The boys were led by Ben Vegliante, Matt Heisler, Brayden Hurst, Dylan Domchek, Nicolas Quinones, Sam Schoenen, and Owen Nahf.
Heisler received the boys’ middle school gold award, Hurst received the boys’ middle school silver award, and Domchek received the boys’ middle school bronze award.
Vegliante was awarded top seventh grade boy, Quinones was awarded most improved middle school boy, and the middle school boys’ summer award was presented to Joey Confer.
“Our coaches, Melissa Davis, Joelle Perelli, and Kyle Reese did a great job with the middle school team,” Benner said.