WPIAL Crowns Cross Country Champions at Cal U

Friday, October 29, 2021

California, Pa. – The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) crowned champions in boys’ and girls’ cross country Thursday, as it hosted its annual WPIAL Cross Country Championships at Roadman Park on the campus of California University of Pennsylvania. There were six races held, two each in the 1A, 2A, and 3A classifications.

North Allegheny swept the 3A championships, extending their streak to four consecutive titles on the boys’ and girls’ sides. In 2A, Hampton captured the boys’ crown, while 2020 runner-up Montour finished one spot better in the girls’ race. Riverview snapped a five-year runner-up streak in 1A boys by taking home the win, and Our Lady of Sacred Heart was victorious in the girls’ championship.

On the individual side, there were three repeat champions in Moon’s Mia Cochran (3A Girls), Butler’s CJ Singleton (3A Boys), and Brownsville’s Jolena Quarzo (2A Girls). Ringgold’s Ryan Pajak snagged the 2A boys’ crown and Greensburg Central Catholic’s Corinn Brewer won the 1A girls’ title after both finished second last year, and Sean Aiken of Eden Christian Academy earned the 1A boys’ championship.

The top three teams and top 15 individuals not on one of the qualifying teams qualified for PIAA state competition in 2A and 3A. In 1A, the top four teams and top 20 individuals not on one of the qualifying teams advanced to PIAAs.

The PIAA Championships are scheduled to take place on Saturday, Nov. 6 in Hershey.

3A BOYS’ RECAP [Results]

North Allegheny won its fourth straight 3A team title, scoring 51 points to runner-up Butler’s 86. The Tigers featured six of the top 19 finishers, led by freshman Jack Bertram, who finished the course with a time of 16:44.8 to place third. Ryan Podnar (6th, 16:57.5), Michael Gauntner (12th, 17:27.7), Caleb Schall (14th, 17:31.0) and Gregory Kossuth (16th, 17:35.1) rounded out the scoring for North Allegheny.

Butler had the top two individual finishers in senior CJ Singleton and sophomore Drew Griffith. Singleton’s second consecutive individual crown was captured with a time of 16:26.3, while Griffith set a mark of 16:32.1 to finish behind his teammate. Sage Vavro also finished inside the top 10, placing eighth with a 17:06.7, and Owen Dressler (30th, 18:14.5) and Ben Lyons (45th, 18:40.8) also scored for the Golden Tornadoes.

Fox Chapel claimed the final PIAA spot by 24 points over Seneca Valley, scoring 144 in total on the day. Senior Jack Lorence was the top finisher for the Foxes, coming home in ninth with a time of 17:08.9.

In addition to the student-athletes from North Allegheny, Butler, and Fox Chapel, qualifying for the PIAA Championships are: Canon-McMillan’s Doron Wudkych, Chartiers Valley’s Kaden Crump, Connellsville’s Zach Bigam, Gateway’s Brady Sundin, Moon’s Jacob Puhalla, Mt. Lebanon’s Swapnil Rana, Peters Township’s Brett Kroboth, Pine-Richland’s Nick Labuda, Seneca Valley’s Noah Petersen, Shaler’s Ryan Paris and Tyler Paszkowski, South Fayette’s Jake Borgesi and Alaa-Eddine Guetari, and Upper St. Clair’s Robert Shontz and Sawyer Weinmann.

A total of 207 runners competed in the race.

3A GIRLS’ RECAP [Results]

It was a four-peat and a three-peat in the 3A girls’ race, with North Allegheny claiming its fourth straight team title and Moon senior Mia Cochran winning her third consecutive individual crown. The Tigers had four of the top 15 finishers en route to a 49-point afternoon, topping Pine-Richland (135) and Mt. Lebanon (193) for the top spot. Cochran finished nearly 30 full seconds ahead of second-place Logan St. John Kletter of Mt. Lebanon, crossing the line at 18:18.6.

Freshman Wren Kucler was the top North Allegheny finisher, placing third with a time of 18:55.7. Eva Kynaston (4th) and Robin Kucler (6th) finished with respective marks of 19:25.5 and 19:34.4, and Maura Mlecko (15th, 20:10.0) and Erin McGoey (23rd, 20:34.2) completed the scoring for the Tigers.

Pine-Richland was led by senior Meredith Price (19:40.7) and junior Natalie McLean (19:45.4), as the duo finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Elizabeth Hunkele (30th, 20:51.5), Angelina Hunkele (36th, 21:14.2), and Breanna Franchak (55th, 21:53.0) also scored for the Rams.

St. John Kletter completed the course in 18:48.3 to capture a runner-up individual finish and the final PIAA spot for Mt. Lebanon, as the Blue Devils topped fourth-place Seneca Valley by 10 points.

In addition to Cochran and the student-athletes from North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, and Mt. Lebanon, qualifying for the PIAA Championships are: Bethel Park’s Jenna Lang, Butler’s Jennifer Chichra, Fox Chapel’s Laura Carter and Clara Kelley, Greater Latrobe’s Emerson Skatell, Hampton’s Kevyn Fish and Ava Vitiello, Kiski Area’s Eliza Miller, Penn-Trafford’s Chloe Bonson, Peters Township’s Sydney Shock, Seneca Valley’s Ruthie Hughes, Shaler’s Samantha Hennen, and South Fayette’s Lily Colombo and Lauren Iagnemma.

A total of 201 runners competed in the race.

2A BOYS’ RECAP [Results]

Hampton brought home the team win in the 2A boys race, scoring 73 points to runner-up North Catholic’s 120. The Talbots had five of the top 24 finishers, starting with sophomore Jacob Bonnar’s seventh-place effort at 17:50.0. Classmates Nathan Garrett (18:07.0) and Dale Hall (18:07.1) placed 12th and 13th respectively, with Chistopher Belch (17th, 18:11.1) and Nathan Garner (24th, 18:25.3) rounding out the scoring.

Ringgold sophomore Ryan Pajak moved up one spot to earn the individual win, finishing the course in 16:58.9. That was nearly 35 seconds ahead of runner-up Dominic Flitcraft of Hopewell, as the junior posted a time of 17:33.2. Quaker Valley sophomore Matthew Otto claimed bronze with a 17:36.3.

North Catholic’s top finisher was sophomore Sam West, who placed 15th with a time of 18:10.5. Joe Harmanos (20th, 18:17.4), Owen Schessler (27th, 18:33.3), Giacomo Lepore (28th, 18:37.0), and Ben Capozzi (30th, 18:39.7) also scored points for the Trojans.

Blackhawk topped Ringgold by seven points (146-153) to claim the final PIAA spot. Junior Ethan Papa was the Cougars’ top finisher in fifth, as he completed the race in 17:40.8.

In addition to the individual top three and student-athletes from Hampton, Ringgold, and Blackhawk, qualifying for the PIAA Championships are: Beaver’s Ryan Groff, Deer Lakes’ Carson McCoy, Greensburg Salem’s Charles Johnson, Jacob Smith, and Aaron Tressler, Mars’ Gregory Chernosky, Montour’s Peter Chacon and Julian Kletz, New Castle’s Lucas Bradley, Ringgold’s Nick Whaley, and Uniontown’s Leyton Maust and Mason Stewart.

A total of 196 runners competed in the race.

2A GIRLS’ RECAP [Results]

Montour improved from its 2020 runner-up position, capturing the 2A team crown with 54 points – 50 more than second-place Chartiers Valley. The Spartans featured four of the top eight finishers, beginning with runner-up Harley Kletz, as the junior posted a 19:39.7. Alex Fleck finished fifth with a 20:25.4, with Lakyn Schaltenbrand right behind here at 20:28.3. Sophia Trevenen (8th, 20:50.1) and Meghan Ranier (38th, 23:03.1) completed the Montour scoring.

Brownsville junior Jolena Quarzo repeated as the 2A individual champ, finishing 35.6 seconds ahead of Kletz with a 19:04.1. Uniontown junior Hope Trimmer collected the bronze medal after posting a 20:06.6.

Chartiers Valley was paced by freshman Lilah Turnbull, who’s 20:29.0 was good for seventh place individually. Eva Kulbago netted a 13th-place effort with a 21:17.6, with Dani Thornton (23rd, 22:05.6), Juliana Betts (30th, 22:27.0), and Rachel White (36th, 22:58.6) also scoring for the Colts.

Beaver claimed the final PIAA slot by 45 points over North Catholic. The Bobcats’ top finisher was freshman Danica Purtell, who placed 11th with a time of 21:12.7.

In addition to Quarzo, Trimmer, and the student-athletes from Montour, Chartiers Valley, and Beaver, qualifying for the PIAA Championships are: Belle Vernon’s Viva Kreis, Blackhawk’s Talia Peccon, Burrell’s Grace Nesko, Derry’s Jane Huss, Elizabeth Forward’s Laci Schwirian, Knoch’s Emma Haugh, North Catholic’s Alaina Hicks and Grace Lazzara, Quaker Valley’s Cecilia Montagnese, Ringgold’s Charlee Leach, Southmoreland’s Lexi Ohler, and Uniontown’s Emily Angelo.

A total of 186 runners competed in the race.

1A BOYS’ RECAP [Results]

After finishing second the last five seasons, Riverview broke through to end Winchester Thurston’s hold on the 1A boys’ title, capturing the crown with 76 points to the Bears’ 90. The Raiders placed six runners in the top 27, with senior Parker Steele’s fifth-place effort at 17:55.3 leading the way. Ty Laughlin placed 10th with a 18:19.5, and Amberson Bauer (14th, 18:33.2), Lucas Wilton (25th, 18:54.3), and Christopher Barnes (26th, 18:54.5) also scored for Riverview.

Winchester Thurston was led by runner-up finisher Lance Nicholls, as the senior finished the course with a time of 17:22.8. Peter Heintzleman ran a 18:26.5 to finish 11th, and Charlie Routledge (22nd, 18:44.5), Jonah Keller (24th, 18:50.0), and Eli DeSimone (37th, 19:13.0) also netted points for the Bears.

Eden Christian Academy featured the individual champion in junior Sean Aiken, as he posted the winning time of 17:09.3 to lift the Warriors to third overall. Riverside senior Ty Fluharty claimed bronze with a time of 17:31.7.

Our Lady of Sacred Heart claimed the fourth and final PIAA spot by 29 points over Shady Side Academy. The Chargers were paced by junior Maxwell Hamilton, who finished 13th with a mark of 18:30.0.

In addition to Fluharty and the student-athletes from Riverview, Winchester Thurston, Eden Christian Academy, and Our Lady of Sacred Heart, qualifying for the PIAA Championships are: Aquinas Academy’s John Griffith, Bishop Canevin’s Kailen Spears and Trey Varley, California’s Kolby Kent, Chartiers-Houston’s Alex Siege, Ellwood City’s Joel Brooks and Colten Crizer, Greensburg Central Catholic’s Nick Szekely, Ligonier Valley’s Tucker Klotz, Mohawk’s Kaleb Lloyd, Neshannock’s Brendan Burns, New Brighton’s Maddox Mengel, Serra Catholic’s Braden Donovan, Shady Side Academy’s Liam Atkinson and Thompson Lau, Shenango’s Connor Jeffcoat and Thomas Presnar, South Side’s RJ Ashcroft, and Washington’s Ramaniah Karamcheti.

A total of 195 runners competed in the race.

1A GIRLS’ RECAP [Results]

Our Lady of Sacred Heart earned the 1A girls’ team championship, with the Chargers’ 79 points topping runner-up Mohawk by a 32-point margin. Four OLSH runners placed inside the top 22, with senior Audrey Wrabley claiming individual bronze after posting a time of 21:20.8. Senior Malley Aiello finished 17th with a time of 22:19.6, with Abby Wertz (21st, 22:35.0), Margaret Sweeney (22nd, 22:39.4), and Gianna Mosca (35th, 23:24.7) also scoring for the champions.

Greensburg Central Catholic senior Corinn Brewer traded her 2020 silver for 2021 gold on the individual side, completing the course in 21:17.8. Northgate senior Lydia Valeriano claimed runner-up honors in a tight race, finishing with a time of 21:19.1.

Mohawk was led by sophomore Evelyn McClain, who finished 15th individually with a time of 22:09.9. The Warriors saw all five of their scorers place inside the top 30, with McClain joined by Natalie Lape (25th, 22:54.6), Lillian McClain (26th, 22:56.0), Aricka Young (29th, 23:07.6), and Ellie Whippo (30th, 23:09.1).

Winchester Thurston and Avonworth claimed the other two PIAA slots with respective point totals of 120 and 148. The Bears’ top runner was junior Cyd Kennard, who finished 18th with a time of 22:31.8. Lopes senior Lindsey Hartle finished fourth overall after completing the course in 21:21.2.

In addition to Brewer, Valeriano, and the student-athletes of Our Lady of Sacred Heart, Mohawk, Winchester Thurston, and Avonworth, qualifying for the PIAA Championships are: Aquinas Academy’s Alexis Abbett and Carina Simmons, Bishop Canevin’s Erin LaQuatra, California’s Anastasia Georgagis and Alina McClafin, Eden Christian Academy’s Hope Haring and Lauren Lomago, Greensburg Central Catholic’s Jonah Althof, Laurel’s Alyssa Sherman, Ligonier Valley’s Maddie Smith and Clara Wallace, Northgate’s Grace Baldauff, Riverside’s Lexi Fluhart and Brooke Wissinger, Riverview’s Lily Bauer and Gwyn Fichte, Shady Side Academy’s Chelsea Hartman, and Shenango’s Morgan Pisula.

A total of 169 runners competed in the race.

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