Mayfield could not attend the championship, but he helped Zappala in workouts over the summer and early autumn.
"Since last June I was telling him he could win it," Mayfield said. ''With the proper training, I knew he could."
That training consisted of speed workouts at La Salle University's track one night a week last summer, and runs together of 12 miles and longer on weekends.
"I was more interested in getting him to maintain pace," said Mayfield, who works in janitorial services at Temple University. "A runner's kick is not as important if he runs the race throughout."
Mayfield, 47, has been a two-time winner of the Philadelphia Marathon and once held the over-40 national record for the half-marathon. He has run competitively all his life, including an appearance in the 1976 Olympic marathon trials. He plans to return next spring to the Boston Marathon, where he finished 25th in 1971.
"Dante is the first young runner I've worked with," Mayfield said. "He had the speed, and winning the title was something he really wanted to do. If a kid wants to do the work like Dante did, I'm glad to help."
THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT. The District 1 Class AA football champions from Morrisville High School are taking time today to thank someone who helped them make it to the top: team trainer Luanne Jefferson, a post-graduate student at Temple.
Jefferson, who hails from Indiana, couldn't afford to fly home for Thanksgiving. At a pep rally today, the Bulldogs and the cheerleaders will present Jefferson with a round-trip plane ticket for which they raised money so she can spend the holiday with her family.
Of course, nobody wants her taking off right away. There is tomorrow's neighborhood rivalry with Bristol to be played. That's why the flight was booked for after the final whistle.
OLD WORLD EXPERIENCE. On Tuesday, sophomore Alex Peev scored two goals as Frankford won its sixth straight Public League soccer title, 3-1 over Northeast.
Soon, Peev's exploits will be translated into Macedonian.
That's the language of his relatives in southeastern Yugoslavia, where his father grew up. The elder Peev emigrated as a young man. Peev learned soccer
from his father and knows how to speak, but not write, Macedonian. His mother will help him translate the letter he is writing his cousin about the soccer season.
In August 1991, Peev visited Macedonia and kicked the ball around with his relatives. It was about the same time that Yugoslavia erupted into the civil war that is still raging. Luckily, Peev said, his relatives are far removed
from the war, even though reaching them by letter and telephone has become increasingly difficult.
"The last letter came back to me," he said. "I'm hoping this one gets through."
A FINAL TWIST. Hatboro-Horsham, the District 1 Class AAA football champion, is in a strange spot.
If the Hatters beat Upper Moreland tomorrow, they could end up in the state playoffs ahead of the nation's top-rated team, Berwick, should it lose in its District 2 playoffs.
On the other hand, if the Hatters (9-0-2, 3-0-1) lose, they would finish tied for second in their own five-team division, behind Upper Moreland (4-4-1, 3-1-0) and tied with Upper Merion (8-1-1, 3-1-1).