Jenna Mulhern is headed back to Portland.
The West Chester Henderson sophomore kept her XC season alive on Saturday at NXR Northeast at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, New York. Mulhern went 18:25 for third place in the Championship girls race, earning one of the five automatic individual qualifying spots for Nike Cross Nationals.
The national meet is set for next Saturday, December 7 in Portland, Oregon. Last year as a freshman, Mulhern ran 18:56 at NXR Northeast to take seventh to qualify her for NXN, where she placed 44th in the country. On Saturday, she was 31 seconds faster on the same regional course.
It was a strong day for a few other Pennsylvania runners. Brownsville Area's Gionna Quarzo was next across the line, placing 12th in 19:11, a strong end to the NC State recruit's high school XC career. Peyton Ellis of Boiling Springs closed out her impressive freshman season on a high note. Ellis went 19:30 to take 13th in the region. North Allegheny junior Keeley Misutka was 14th in 19:21.
State College Area (Nittany TFXC) was the top PA team in the field. The Little Lions, led by Marlee Kwasnica's 44th place finish, placed seventh. West Chester Henderson was 11th and South Fayette took 17th.
The Downingtown West boys terrific season came to an end on Saturday in what was a valiant effort by the AAA state champions.
The Whippets Footracing Team placed third in the team standings behind region champs LaSalle Academy (RI) and Christian Brothers Academy (NJ). LaSalle scored 74 to run away with the team title. CBA scored 105 for second, 19 points ahead of D-West, which put up 124. The top two teams in the region receive automatic berths to Nike Cross Nationals
D-West had a shot for an at-large bid to NXN, but ultimately the Whippets were not selected. West managed just a 31-second 1 through 5 spread with Aiden Barnhill (16:29) leading the way with a 16th place overall.
North Allegheny's Daniel McGoey was the highest placed PA boy in the field. The senior NC State signee went 16:23 for 12th. Lewisburg Area sophomore Jacob Hess was the second PA boy across, taking 14th in 16:25.