In 1969 when Mogadore’s Doug Watts became the head track and cross country coach at Edinboro State College (now Edinboro University), his first recruit was a tenacious runner from Walsh Jesuit High School named Dave Antognoli. According to the legendary Watts, a 1991 SCSHOF inductee who amassed 44 years of coaching at Edinboro, Antognoli is the reason that the Fighting Scots became relevant on the national level. “He helped lay the foundation for the successful program that exists today,” praised Watts, who guided over 200 Edinboro athletes to All-American honors and five teams to national cross country titles!
Antognoli enjoyed a stellar college running career. He has the distinction of being Edinboro’s first All-American and first national champion. Antognoli won numerous individual titles, including the 1971 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Cross Country Championship, the 1972 NAIA 10,000 Meter Run and the 1972 U.S. Track & Field Six Mile Run. In addition, he was the top collegiate finisher in the 10,000 Meter Run in the 1972 Olympic Trials.
In his outstanding collegiate journey, Antognoli finished all four seasons undefeated in dual collegiate cross country competition and earned six NAIA All-America honors, three each in cross country and track. He was voted a member of the Edinboro Men’s All-Time Cross Country Team and was inducted into the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1983.
At Edinboro, Antognoli earned his B.S. degree in education in 1973 and his M.A. degree in English in 1976. While coaching in Kirtland, OH and through the influence of Watts, he guided Mary Jean Wright to victory in the first two Ohio State Cross Country Championships for women (1978 & 1979). Currently, the Cuyahoga Falls native is a retired high school English teacher but remains as head cross country coach at Neshannock High School, where in 2006 he guided Kacey Gibson to a Pennsylvania State Cross Country Championship and Runner of the Year honors. He and his wife, Ann, also an Edinboro graduate, have two adult children, Erin and Jason, and reside in New Castle, PA.