NEW CASTLE —
Sometimes the only thing harder than climbing the mountain is staying there.
The Laurel High girls cross country team had no such problem yesterday, successfully defending its Class A crown at the WPIAL Championships at Cooper’s Lake, thus leading the list of local qualifiers for the PIAA Championships on Nov. 2 in Hershey.
The Lady Spartans had 83 points, while Bishop Canevin was a distant second with 122. Shenango took fourth in Class A with 134 points, while Neshannock was 14th with 368 and Mohawk 18th with 487.
“It’s a great accomplishment for the girls,” Laurel coach Greg Schmitt said. “Last year, we were really excited about winning it, because it was the first year for the single-A division. It was also the first WPIAL championship in school history.
“To win it again this year is a great feeling. The girls worked really hard all season and they deserve it. They felt a little bit of pressure to defend the title, but when we won the MAC (Midwestern Athletic Conference) meet a few weeks ago, we knew we had a shot at defending our title and the pressure started building. I knew we were capable of winning it.”
Laurel was led by Alison Filer’s eighth-place finish in 20:22, while freshmen Cassandra Patterson and Mia Muraca placed 10th and 11th in 20:38 and 20:41, respectively.
Stephanie Kaminski placed 27th in 21:50 and Kristin Dicks finished the race in 21:55 for 33rd.
“I ran like I always do,” Filer said. “I stuck with my game plan, because it seemed to work every other race.”
“I ran pretty good today,” Patterson said. “It was pretty cool finishing 10th, because this is my first WPIAL (race). That’s a pretty good feeling to have. Mia and I were pushing each other. That’s a pretty good feeling to have when you can run with your friends in a friendly way.”
“Since this is my first year here, so I think I did pretty good,” Muraca said. “I was expecting us to be up here, because our coach trains us to run in any kind of weather.”
Shenango missed out on advancing as a team by four points, but had two state qualifiers in Rachel Reamer and Elizabeth Salem. Reamer placed 18th in 21:23 and Salem was 21st in 21:38.
Carly Danielson finished in 21:51 for 29th place, while Courtney Fontana was 35th in 22:00. Brielle Braun captured 39th place in 22:11.
“It was a great day,” Shenango coach Phil Thompson said. “We’ll take top four. We wanted to be in the top three, but we had some things go wrong with our No. 1 runner (Katie Bruce) going down. With her in there, I think we do better. To miss out on going to states by four points without your top runner is quite the accomplishment. I think every girl ran their best race of the season.
“I’m more happy with them this year than last year when we were the runners-up. Rachel Reamer, I’ve never seen her run better. She’s a great runner and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without her. Liz Salem really stepped up to the plate. She hit one out of the park. She came out of nowhere. She was 30th at the two-mile mark and moved up to 21st to make it to state.”
Neshannock senior Lizzie Manickas was the top local finisher in the Class A girls race in second place with a time of 19:21 — 61 seconds behind champion Marianne Abdalah from Vincentian Academy.
“I’m actually pretty happy, because I still get to go to states,” Manickas said. “Finishing second isn’t the end of the world, because I can do better at the state meet. I wanted to do my best. Normally, I go in with a plan, but today, I really just went out and ran.”
Natalie Sheen captured 46th place in 22:38 and Laura Na was 106th in 26:00. Reagan Wish took 118th in 27:15 and Sydney Cosgrove ran the race in 29:24 for 137th place.
Joelle Bromley was the top Lady Warriors finisher in 81st place with a time of 24:37, while Mackenzie Moon was 94th in 25:08. Holly Duncan placed 103rd in 25:49 and Danielle Kelty raced to a time of 27:50 for 124th place. Lyly Truong was 141st in 29:56.
Kelcey Seth finished in 56th place in 22:23 to lead New Castle to 16th place with 404 points. Mars edged Greensburg Salem 74-90 to win the Class AA girls title.
Caitlin Adamo also ran the race in 22:23, but finished in 58th place. Andrea Lansdowne placed 63rd in 22:37, while Natalie DeVincentis took 129th in 24:48. Rebecca Paul ran the race in 24:58 to finish in 134th.
Ellwood City Lincoln was paced by Mallory Angelucci (98th, 23:44), Cayla Sudano (127th, 24:47), Goldie Bookamer (170th, 27:11) and Janelle Fox (178th, 28:39).
In the boys Class A race, Shenango finished in seventh place with 238 points. Laurel and Neshannock each totaled 295 points.
Neshannock senior Robbie Kroner qualified for the state championships by finishing in third place in a time of 17:25.
“I feel pretty good about it,” Kroner said. “I really wanted to PR (personal record) today, but it wasn’t going to happen with the weather. I wanted to be in the top five, but top three would have been better. Coming into the race, I knew it was anybody’s race and nobody was really hammering it out there. I was there with the leaders the whole time.”
Kroner will be joined at the state meet by Shenango seniors David Waldschmidt and Andy McCann. Waldschmidt finished the race in 17:51 for 15th place and McCann was 21st in 18:11.
“I’m very happy,” Waldschmidt said. “Last year, I really struggled with the heat and got really sick. I barely qualified last year, so I was looking to redeem myself this year. I felt good the whole race and tried to finish the best I could.”
“I was way too close to not making it,” McCann said. “I didn’t have my best race. I gave it all I had and in the end, it all worked out. It was a really hard last stretch. I am pretty happy.”
Kyle Campbell placed 64th in 19:17 for the Wildcats and Cameron Waters took 68th in 19:27. Chase Waldschmidt ran the course in 19:48 for 83rd place.
“Dave and Andy, it’s been a long season for those guys,” Thompson said. “They work harder than anybody. They’re great. I’m happy with them. To be honest, this team did great. We lost a couple seniors. Kyle Campbell, Cameron Waters, Chase Waldschmidt, Devin Ross and Josiah Bupp all stepped up. Single-A is a tough championship. We finished where we expected to.”
Chris Noga was the second Lancers runner to cross the finish line in 18:41 for 40th place, while Austin Moose was 50th in 19:02. Robert Kwiat finished in 103rd with a time of 20:26 and Dean Lutz placed 115th in 21:03.
Bryan Taylor (18:36) and Clint Glenn (18:41) were five seconds apart in 34th and 39th place, respectively, for the Class A Spartans. Austin McClelland was the next Laurel runner across in 19:17 for 63rd place. Josh Hassett raced to a time of 19:34 for 73rd place and Alex Hudak was 104th in 20:26.
Ellwood City finished in 15th place in the Class AA boys race with 425 points, while Mohawk was 26th with 680. South Fayette edged Uniontown 74-93 to win the WPIAL crown.
Billy Lott paced the Wolverines with a 18:19 for 40th, while classmate Tomas Maielli was two seconds behind in 43rd. Wesley Larry took 89th in 19:34 and Christian Covert was 115th in 20:08. Joey Cortez was the final Ellwood City runner to finish in 20:23 for 132nd place.
The Red Hurricane took 30th in the Class AAA boys race behind WPIAL champion North Allegheny.
Mike Mazzanti was the top New Castle boys runner to finish with a time of 17:26 for 40th place, while younger brother Chris Mazzanti was 156th in 18:58. Matthew Hawkins ran the race in 19:13 for 170th place, while Andrew Gonzales (19:23) and Josh McFall (19:25) placed 175th and 176th, respectively.
NEW CASTLE —
Sometimes the only thing harder than climbing the mountain is staying there.
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