By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
Back in the mid-2000s, the North Marion cross country team had a tradition.
The night before big races, the entire team would go to one runner’s house to hang out, hydrate and carb load. They called the events “Pasta Parties.”
But slowly, the tradition began to fade away.
That is, until Kailee Latocha helped bring it back.
“I think it was her family that brought them back,” said girls’ cross country coach and North Marion graduate Keri Bland. “She was one of the major people that brought that family feeling back together when she and her family kept the pasta parties going last year.”
This season, the Huskies will count on Latocha to do more than just lead the team-bonding activities. After Emma Harrison and Amanda Reynolds graduated last year, Latocha will take over as the only senior on the 2013 cross country team.
“Emma was our strongest runner and she helped us out a lot with points. So that will probably be our biggest loss,” Latocha said. “Josie Jones and I, we’re hoping to step it up this year and place a lot higher to help the team out.”
Prior to last season, Latocha had never medaled in a cross country race. She accomplished that feat three times in her junior season, finishing ninth at the Times West Virginian Invitational, 16th at the White Day Combo and 16th at Regionals.