9/21 WKND Feature: Mount Lebanon girls showing they belong in the state title chase discussion


7th PIAA Foundation XC Invitational


Photos by Don Rich and David Beyerle

Tessa Barrett of Abington Heights was slightly under the weather, so she took a conservative approach and had a group of talented runners with her as she passed 800 meters in the girls Gold Race (AAA). But that was the last anyone saw of the Abington Heights senior, who extended her lead over the final 2.5 miles. Her final time of 17:48 eclipsed the course record set in 2012 at the PIAA state champs by Unionville's Courtney Smith, who ran 18:16. The fastest on the original layout (one without Poop-Out Hill - a highlight of the current course) had been a 17:49 by Central Cambria's Carly Seymour. US#9, PA#2, Pennsbury girls survived a scare, winning by 12 points over PA#3 Mt. Lebanon by a score of 78 to 90.

Chris Cummings, West Chester East, won the boys Gold Race (AAA) with a quick 16:13 clocking.  US#19 North Allegheny boys steamrolled everyone with 31 points.  The squad said after the race that they had come to Hershey to "make a statement".  Their 16:33 average with a 16 second spread will be heard loud and clear across the Keystone State! 

District 12's Archbishop Wood was a four point victor over District 10's Villa Maria Academy. Megan Connell led Archbishop Wood with a 5th place 20:02, while Villa's Bernadette Prichard was 8th in 20:07. Both are sophomores. West Allegheny's Alexis O'Shea took the individual honors, going 19:17.  O'Shea felt the race was a good indicator. "I'm excited now to get a taste of victory."

Sophomore Dominic Hockenbury of Lake Lehman captured the Boys Blue (AA) Race in 16:43.  But Pottsgrove, behind the 3rd place 17:10 by Derek Lopez, and 12th place finish of Josh Toth, won the team title with 101 points.

Vincentian Academy frosh Marianne Abdalah ran a quick 19:11 in the first race of the day. Without a chance to even see the course, she was told to take it out in a controlled pace. But by 400 meters she had a 50 meter lead. "I knew I was coming in seeded first, but I still wanted to push myself to have a really good time to get ready for states, because I know Kennedy is going to be right there." District 2 Class A rivals Elk Lake and Holy Cross gave a great preview of both their district meet with Elk Lake pulling out a narrow 58-60 victory in the Girls White (A) Race by placing five in the top 20. But the 3-4-5 finishes by Holy Cross, behind Mackenzie Greenfield's 20:19 could be the precursor to district and state glory.

In the Boys White (A) Race, junior Julian Degroot-Lutzner of Masterman (District 12) led the Dragons to an 18 point victory over Saegertown with a time of 16:55.

Photos: 7th PIAA Foundation XC Invitational by PTXC

PIAA Foundation Girls White Race

Tessa Barrett never looks back on the way to a 17:48 and new CR

PIAA Foundation Boys Gold Race

North Allegheny packs a 16-compression
for 31 points.

Girls Blue Race

Girls Gold Race

Boys White Race

Boys Blue Race

Tessa Barrett - Girls Gold Champ
Tessa crushed the old course record by 28 seconds with her time of 17:48 in an impressive early season solo effort!

Kelsey Potts - Girls Gold Runner-up
Kelsey ran a strong race to snag runner-up honors with a great time on this course.

North Allegheny - Boys Gold Champs
North Allegheny used an impressive 16s spread and 16:33 course average to score 31 points and make a big statement on the state championship course.

Jeff Groh and Cole Nissley - Boys Gold 2nd,4th
Jeff and Cole finished 2nd and 4th respectively as Lower Dauphin scored well for 2nd place behind North Allegheny.

Chris Cummings - Boys Gold Champ
Chris used a solid kick to outlast Jeff Groh with a final time of 16:13.

Marianne Abdalah - Girls White Champ
Marianne led from the front and won impressively with a time of 19:13.

Alexis O'Shea - Girls Blue Champ
Alexis pulled away late and built up a big lead on the way to the win with a time of 19:17.

Julian Degroot-Lutzner - Boys White Champ
Julian outkicked Morgan Schenberg for the win with a time of 16:55.