When it comes to keeping things in perspective, Dan Nalesnik is a soft-spoken guru.
Paupack's veteran cross country coach once again has his Buckhorn thinclads on the path toward Lackawanna League and District Two glory
"I like to think of cross country as a microcosm of life," he said.
"We're living in an era of instant gratification. As a runner, though, you have to focus on the bigger picture. If you want to attain long-term success, you have to work hard every day and stay focused on the ultimate goal."
In the world of scholastic cross country, that ultimate goal is to survive a grueling regular season and reach your peak at the District Two Meet.
From there, Nirvana is a berth at the PIAA State Championships.
"That's what we always shoot for ... getting as many kids as possible through to the state meet," said Coach Nalesnik. "Every one of our kids trains with October 23 at Elk Lake in mind."
The next step along that path comes Tuesday with a trip to Chapman Lake and a cluster meet at Lakeland High School.
Paupack's boys squad suffered a disappointing loss last week at the hands of Scranton Prep.
However, the Buckhorns showed great resilience by bouncing back with a dominant performance at Delaware Valley.
Brian Rose led the way on this particular day.
The senior blistered DV's new course, covering the 3.1-mile layout in a record time of 17:40.
"Brian has taken his role as a leader very seriously," Coach Nalesnik said. "He's doing a wonderful job."
Page 2 of 2 - Rose was chased home by teammates Jacob Wacker (17:45), Patrick Johnson (17:49), Robbie Segalla (17:49) and Matt Sein (18:12). This sweep of the Top Five positions enabled Paupack to win all three of its encounters.
The Buckhorns defeated Dunmore (15-50), Riverside (15-50) and DV (15-46).
With these wins, Coach Nalesnik's lads upped their regular season record to a sparkling 10-1.
Also cracking the Top 20 for Paupack were Anthony Guerrieri (18:22), Wade Gilpin (18:41), Eric Kolvek (18:48), Ian Keough (18:57) and Cesar Gonzalez (19:47)
On the girls side of the ledger, Alyssa LaFave added another stellar outing to her already impressive resume.
LaFave joined Rose in the record books, winning the race in a brand new course record time of 20:17.
"As expected, Alyssa is having a very good year," Coach Nalesnik said. "She's working extremely hard to put herself in position to make some noise at districts and hopefully states, too."
Deirdre Schmidt claimed runner-up honors, posting a time of 20:44.
Haley Miller also carved out a spot for herself in the Top Five, stopping the clock at 21:36.
Svetlana Martynuk (22:10) and Aleaha Wacker (22:24) shut down the team scoring for Paupack.
Emily Martone (22:37), Olivia Schneider (23:42), Anne Monte (24:05) and Ingrid Bates (24:05) also finished up inside the Top 20.
Thanks to this trademark "pack running" mentality, Paupack's girls team pushed its overall record to 7-3 on the season with wins over DV (17-46) and Dunmore (15-49).