Gifted with a compelling kick and tactical guile, Pat Hally established himself as one of the East’s leading runners this fall, becoming, in his coach’s view, the greatest runner in Salesianum’s history.
Hally, who heads the 2013 All-State cross country team, dominated locally, winning the Division I, the New Castle County, Salesianum and Lake Forest meets. He also thrived elsewhere, finishing first at the Maymont (Va.) Invitational, third at Briarwood (Philadelphia) and eighth at the Manhattan Invitational.
“He’s a risk-taker. It’s in his blood. He’s not afraid to push the pace early,” said Wilmington Friends runner Thomas Connelly. “He’s always looking for new ways to beat the rest of the field, switching it up and keeping the other runners on our toes.
“He’s the type of guy who’ll congratulate you if you’ve had a good race or console you if you have had a bad race,” added Connelly, who will join Hally next year at Penn. “He’s a team player. He’s not just about his own success.”
Salesianum coach Michael Losapio called Hally “well-grounded and well-rounded.”
“He recognizes that other kids are competing as hard as he is,” Losapio said. “He likes the brotherhood within the running community.”
Tall and athletic, Hally didn’t run until he reached Salesianum, where an uncle, Matt Kane, was a key member of the 1991 and 1992 state champions. A promising junior varsity ninth-grader, he advanced by absorbing strategy from Scott Davis and other upperclassmen teammates, “like a sponge,” said Losapio.
As a sophomore, Hally won the state 3,200 meter title. As a junior, he was Division I cross country champ and finished in the top three in each other major meet. Last spring, he ran the fourth fastest two-mile in state history (9:14).
After beginning his senior year by dominating at Killens Pond and hillier Richmond, Philadelphia and Brandywine Creek State Park, Hally traded spectacular finishes with Tatnall’s Jack Hagood. At Manhattan, Hally passed five runners on the stretch, including Hagood, to run the fastest time by a Delawarean at Van Courtland Park.
“When you race out of state, you don’t know what to expect,” Hally said. “It’s also very humbling to run with people of that caliber to see how much improvement you need.”
A week after Manhattan, Hagood took command on flat Bellevue State Park to hand Hally his only in-state loss.
Hally applied Hagood’s tactics in the county meet.
“Jack puts in surges, which are difficult to race against, because you don’t know when he’s going to surge and when he’s going to back off. I tried to duplicate what he does in the county meet. It seemed to work well,” Hally said, who held off Connelly for the first half of the meet and Tatnall’s Stephen Garrett over the second half to set a Winterthur record (15:32).
Joining Hally on the All-State first team are:
* Hagood, a senior, a repeat selection, slowed by flu the final two weeks, still leading who led Tatnall to its fourth straight year as the state’s top-ranked team.
* Garrett, a junior All-State for the third time, Division II champion, whose 15:15 in the Southeast Regionals is the state’s fastest ever.
* Connelly, second in Division II, third in New Castle County and small-schools champion at the Salesianum Invitational.
* Kieran Tuntivate, a junior from Charter School of Wilmington, second in Division I and two-time Blue Hen Conference champion.
* Charter sophomore Kevin Murray, second in the Blue Hen Conference, third in Division I.
* Jarod Wilson of Newark, who improved by 34 seconds in two months to finished fourth in Division I.