It wasn't normal by any stretch, but by golly, there was a state meet today in Pennsylvania.
In the time of the coronavirus, questions lingered throughout the summer whether there would be any kind of fall cross country season in Pennsylvania. After the spring season was wiped out due to COVID-19, the PIAA decided there would be a fall sports season in PA.
So that brought us to Saturday and Hershey's Parkview Course for the PIAA State Championships.
Each classification was divided up into four races to limit individual race sizes. The team qualifiers ran separate from the individual qualifiers and the results were merged at the end for each classification.
There were a number repeat champion on both the team and individual side, but there were a number of surprises. It was a memorable day at the Parkview Course for many reasons.
The heat played a role. The sun was beaming and it was in the mid-70s -- something these runner haven't been used to in the Keystone State for the past few weeks. Those conditions took a toll on the final results. There were some notable drop-outs, including the two AA race favorites -- Cori McCormick in the girls race and Dylan Throop in the boys race. A few others top runners struggled to get across the line.
CLASS A GIRLS: In a wide open field of entries, Shenango's Carmen Medvit came out on top in the Class A girls race. The Penns Valley Area girls -- battled-tested from a tough District 6 -- won the team race after setting the tone in the day's first race.
CLASS A BOYS: Colton Sands of Penns Valley, battled back from an injury, and while not 100%, he defending his state title in 16:42. The Jenkintown boys, motivated by defeat from last year, ran away with the title with 44 points.
CLASS AA GIRLS: Olivia Haas of Blue Mountain had to make it a solo effort throughout in a heat that she won by well over a minute, but she made the most of it, winning her race in 18:56. That time held up through the final two heats and Haas won her first state title. The Warrior Run girls were dominant in winning the team title, scoring 40 points to win by 37.
CLASS AA BOYS: Perhaps the biggest surprise winner of the day came in AA boys and he made it a blowout. Archbishop Wood's Gary Martin went 16:12 to win by 25 seconds over the next best finisher, as heavy race favorite Dylan Throop was a DNF. The Lewisburg Area boys won their second straight team title, scoring 57 to win by 14.
CLASS AAA GIRLS: The champions successfully defended their title in AAA girls. Mia Cochran of Moon Area claimed her second straight title, winning in 18:28 from the fourth and final heat. Meanwhile, the North Allegheny won their third straight team title, scoring 59 points for the win by 14.
CLASS AAA BOYS: State College's Brady Bigger emerged victorious in the first heat of AAA boys, running 16:07 -- the fastest overall time of the day -- to win the state title. The North Allegheny boys completed the NA Sweep, winning their second state title in three years in a runaway. The Tigers scored 49 points, 27 clear of second place.