Felix the one year old cat is in animal emergency …he’s been through the ringer. He rode it out inside the high efficiency front loading washer…it was on express wash, (warm wash, cold rinse). But the 12 pound cat was in there for the full 45 minute cycle.Finally, when his owner opened the door and heard a meow. Felix is now on oxygen support in the ICU unit. He was initially blinded by the soap, water and lack of air…oh ya and the spin cycle.Felix is still in critical condition, and his medical bills are mounting. They have set up a GoFundMe page to help defray the bills.
One high school producing a Syracuse track star isn’t that uncommon. Sending two track stars to Syracuse in the same year is pretty rare.But having three in the same program spanning two classes is very unique. Yet that’s the exact scenario playing out with Syracuse junior distance runners Joseph Kush and Juris Silenieks, and sophomore Margo Malone, who are all enjoying productive seasons. All contributing to the success of Syracuse track. All graduates of North Hills High School in Pittsburgh.The strategies and running techniques that the three developed at North Hills have helped them achieve success this year, and in their collegiate careers. “It’s pretty crazy to be honest,” Kush said. “I would never have thought we would have this many kids from the same high school. But, it’s definitely been really fun and going to continue to be really fun.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textKush and Silenieks, who have known each other since the fourth grade and currently live together, committed to Syracuse in 2011. They kept their recruiting processes separate, and even visited schools separately before making identical decisions. “This was one of the only overlapping schools that we were both talking to,” Silenieks said. And upon their decisions, Syracuse gained two strong runners. At North Hills, Kush was a four-time state medalist and nine-time Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League medalist. Not to be outdone, Silenieks was twice a first-team all-state selection in cross-country and three-time state medalist.SU head coach Chris Fox has been the Orange head coach for nearly 10 years, and had never came across this kind of situation. “It’s a little bit unusual that a school in our sport have two people that are that good at the same time,” Fox said. “It’s like having two point guards, two (Tyler) Ennis-es.”And like the basketball sensation, the former North Hills stars found early success as freshmen. Silenieks took first in the 3000-meter run at the Cornell Upstate Challenge. Kush qualified for the Big East Outdoor Championship in the 5000-meter run at the Sam Howell Invitational.Then, when Malone — who was a six-time WPIAL Champion in cross-country and track at North Hills — joined Kush and Silenieks the following year, the two helped her adjust to the collegiate level with the experience they had gained.“It was cool to know that they were going to Syracuse and just knowing I was going to have some support there,” Malone said. “And how much they liked it was really encouraging because they always talked so highly about the program.”Malone finished ninth overall at the outdoor Atlantic Coast Conference championships in the 6K, and won the mile run in a time of 4:53.90 at the Cornell Upstate Challenge in January.In the men’s races this season, Silenieks finished third in the 5000-meter indoor race at the Penn State National Invitational, and Kush finished fourth in the mile run at Cornell. The three credit their success to the teachings of former North Hills track and field and cross-country coach John Wilkie. They believe that without Wilkie, who recently retired after 38 years of coaching, none of them would be running at such a high level.Kush specifically said that Wilkie and Fox teach high mileage and speed through strength in similar ways, which allowed the three to transition well to collegiate running. “The good thing about those three kids is we didn’t have to teach them how to train,” Fox said. “They come from such a good program in high school that they were ready to train hard at this level. Not all kids are. Some kids you have to spend the first year teaching them how to train.”Another runner who Fox won’t have his hands full with is Mary Malone. Mary, Margo’s younger sister, will join the Orange next fall after she graduates from North Hills. There’s already three former Indians running for Syracuse, and the number is only growing. Comments Published on April 2, 2014 at 1:00 am Facebook Twitter Google+