Postseason full of great races
The final three weeks of the season gave us memorable performances. Close packs, runaway wins, course records, and plenty of history filled the postseason.
Brianna Schwartz of Shaler Area set a course record at District 7, Jake Brophy and Casey Comber had a memorable head to head battle at Suburban One with top five performances for each, Cardinal O’Hara girls were perfect at leagues and districts, Grove City were nearly perfect, Zach Seiger of Red Land upset the field at Mid Penn, Aaron Gebhart of New Oxford did the same in a congested district 3 AAA race, Villa Maria hit a bump in the road, and so much more.
States saw the crowning of the stars of the season, and one of the best races some have ever seen, saw Jake Brophy break through a pack of veteran and special senior runners
All of the drama proved the point that nothing is ever won in September and early October. Teams that were sharp early on went through some tough patches, while teams who bided their time to hit the course were getting the rust off and finding their form. Regardless of how everyone got to the postseason, it made for a very special conclusion of the 2014 season.
Underclass rule the girls side
The top of the girls side this season was dominated by the underclassmen. Seniors Brianna Schwartz and Marissa Sheva held the senior flag high and proud, but an up and coming breed of special talent that have taken on the 2014 season with no fear contributed to the excitement of the fall and have set up a bright future for the state of PA.
Three of the four state champions were underclassmen. Sophomore Marianne Abdalah of Vincentian Academy won the Class A crown for the 2nd straight season. Junior Ally Rome of Dallas did one place better than sister and two time Foot Locker finalist Regan Rome to win AA. Sophomore Terri Turner of Springside Chestnut Hill won the Independent title in a last gasp push to the finish line.
Behind the champions, Olivia Sargent of Pennsbury broke 18 minutes in three of four appearances, Madeleine Davison of North Allegheny became the successor to Brianna Schwartz out West, Brooke Hutton of Coatesville became the new kid on the block with four wins and a top ten state finish, and the accomplishments run even deeper than the space on this page can fill.
Next season for this group should be special, as 38 of the top 50 will return to create their own history. How will the next group of seniors carry the flag? Can the underclassmen raid the class of 2016 in a similar fashion to this season? Big things are still to come for the returning PA stars!
Boys produce strong group
After several years of the elite female runners of the state snatching the headlines on the local and national scenes, the boys snatched them for themselves this season, producing big performances that sent shockwaves across the country.
No one had a bigger impact on the national stage that Colin Abert of Easton, who made the most of his two big invitational performances with record wins. He shattered the PTXC course record at Kutztown in 15:21, and then in front of a live internet broadcast, he broke the Paul Short meet record at Lehigh with a time of 14:55, which was US#8 at the time.
Jaxson Hoey of Malvern Prep also snatched a big national headline when he ran the 3rd fastest time at Belmont Plateau, the fastest for a junior, and the fastest time ever recorded by a Pennsylvania runner. His time of 15:30 only trail the Rosa twins of Joe and Jim Rosa from West Windsor Plainsboro, NJ.
Jake Brophy of Central Bucks East had one of the biggest postseasons in recent memory, breaking 15:12 twice at Lehigh against quality competition, and then by snatching the course record at Hershey by 21 seconds, to emerge as state champion against the special class of 2015 in AAA. He ranks in the top ten in the country amongst juniors.
Meanwhile, thanks to the quality provided by the seniors, PA boys had 43 sub 16 minute performances, which ranks them in the top ten in the country. The class of 2015 will be remembered for their great ability and talent, and they put that on display all season.