Lefever to run for Pitt

By on November 9, 2016
Zach  Lefever  of  Ephrata  announced his plans to continue his running career at the University of Pittsburg. Photos by Preston Whitcraft.

Zach Lefever of Ephrata announced his plans to continue his running career at the University of Pittsburg. Photos by Preston Whitcraft.

Fresh off his fourth-place finish at the State Meet Saturday, Ephrata cross country star Zach Lefever made a big weekend even bigger Sunday night via Twitter when he announced his college plans for the next four years.

After considering such top Division One programs as Penn State, George Mason and the University of Connecticut, to name a few, the senior announced that he will take his talents to the University of Pittsburgh where he will run cross country and track for the Panthers.

After taking official visits to all of the above institutions, Lefever, who will major in civil engineering, said he settled on the Atlantic Coast Conference school for several reasons.

“I really liked the team, and the coaching style was really similar to the coaching style that I’m already used to with Coach Hershberger and Coach Delpiano,” he said. “Plus I really liked the Pittsburgh area in general, and I know they have a strong engineering program as well.”

Lefever did well in his freshman and sophomore years in cross country at Ephrata, advancing all the way to States where he finished 105th as a 10th grader.

But he grew leaps and bounds as a runner heading into 11th grade when he placed second in both the L-L League and District Three meets before having his season cut short because of appendicitis. This year, he picked up where he left off, taking second at the L-L’s, third at Districts and now fourth at States.

“Going into my freshman year I dual sported with soccer and cross country and I wasn’t really sure how I was going to improve or where I was going to be heading into my senior year,” he said. “My goal my sophomore year was to dip (my times) into the 16s. I was like, ‘if I can get into the 16s, that’s awesome…I’d be so excited.’ Now I’m down in the 15:20s, and I never would have saw myself there. At the beginning of my junior year when I was trying to look at schools, I was looking at real small Division One and Division Three schools, and then my junior year is kind of when I took off. That’s when I started saying, ‘I think I can be an athlete at a large Division One school.’”

While he’s looking to be a key contributor for the Panthers next season in both cross country and track, where he figures to be a good fit for the 5,000, he said he needs to improve his overall race to thrive at the next level.

“I think race-wise, I need to work on more of the middle of my race because I go out strong and I know I have a very good kick…but it’s in the middle of the race where I kind of relax more than I should,” he said. “I think at the next level I need to have my entire race be perfect. I need to bring my entire race together because when you are racing in college you are going against the best runners from other high schools every single race, and they are not going to be making many mistakes.”

Lefever still has one high school track season left to add to his medal collection. Last Spring, he capped off his junior year with a sixth-place medal in the State 3,200.


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