Congratulations to the North Hills 1979 Boys’ Cross Country Team on their induction in to the WPIAL Hall of Fame: Class of 2019!
1979 North Hills High School Cross Country Team:
With one of the deepest rosters on any team in high school history locally, the 1979 North Hills High School Cross Country Team was unparalleled in running up 118 points in the PIAA state final; a full 80 points ahead of runner-up State College High School. In fact, no team had come close to North Hills that season. The Indians, guided by Head Coach John Wilkie, finished as the only undefeated team in Pennsylvania. They claimed the WPIAL team title by 70 points over Mount Lebanon, fueled by sophomore Tom Tobin’s third place finish. Prior to that, North Hills won the Northern Qualifier by a whopping 56 points. The Indians shut out seven of its nine dual meet opponents that season and were crowned team champions at all eight invitational and championship races in which they competed with an average margin of victory of 48 points over the second place team. Despite State College having the number 3 and 9 finishers in their state championship meet, North Hills grabbed the gold as senior Mike Flynn finished 11th, junior Joe Cottone 23rd, seniors Calvin Biesecker 25th and Scott Shapert 28th, and junior Mike Cantway 31st. Sophomores Jeff Simmons and Tobin, who fell ill during the run, finished out of the scoring. Following the season, the Western Pennsylvania Track Council named Wilkie its High School Cross Country Coach of the Year.