Pennsylvania XC Week 4 Meets On Tap

Sharpsville Blue Devil Invitational - Meet Preview

The Sharpsville Blue Devil Invitational annually attracts top runners and teams from southwestern Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, and Saturday's 2019 edition will be no different. Ohio's top-ranked small school team will make the 20-mile trek to Buhl Park, while a defending champion (and one of the top runners in Class AA) will make the trip north to the home of the District 10 championships.

Two-time defending WPIAL Class AA champion Annie Wicker of Quaker Valley is scheduled to defend her Sharpsville title in the girls' varsity race, which will get the high school events going at 9:15 a.m. A senior, Wicker was the No. 8 finisher in Hershey last November after beating Warren Area's Naomi Hahn to the finish in Sharon by just two seconds. All of the top seven finishers from a year ago are entered, and expect Meaera Shannon of Cochranton, Maddison Hayes of Fairview and Madeline Curtis of Harbor Creek to keep the pace honest and put together another strong finish in 2019.

Also in the field is McDonald (OH) senior Anna Guerra, who was ninth in this meet two years ago and last weekend won the Division III race at the Boardman invite. McDonald is the No. 5 team in the Ohio coaches poll this week.

In the boys' race, six of last year's top 10 finishers are in the entry list. Freedom Area's Adam Hessler and McDonald's Brody Rupe were third and fifth in 2018 and already have solid credentials on their side in 2019, with Hessler winning the A-AA division at Mary Uher and placing a solid eighth in the AAA race at Red, White & Blue. Rupe won the Oscar Grant invite and was second a week ago in the Boardman DIII event, leading the top-ranked Blue Devils to an important team title against a rival for statewide honors come November.

Others who could contend include freshman Christian Mattern of McDowell and seniors Eli Anish of Taylor Allderdice, Noah Bernarding of Cochranton and Troy Hart of Reynolds. Each of these athletes has either won or finished second in an invite so far this season.

-Phil Grove