The defending PIAA Class AAA state champions and preseason PA No. 1 and US No. 9 boys are better than you thought.
That's thanks to freshman Jack Bertram, who led the North Allegheny by capturing the individual title at Saturday's Red, White & Blue Classic at White Oak Park. Bertram, in his first high school invite, ran to the win in a loaded, upperclassmen-heavy AAA field, clocking a time of 15:53.
The North Allegheny boys rolled to the team title with 38 points and just a 50-second 1 through 5 spread. The Tigers employed a race strategy of going out conservatively and moving up throughout the race. NA did just that to dominate a strong western PA field of teams.
Bertram was able to break the field in the last mile, and held off a hard charge from another breakout performer, Brett Kroboth of Peters Township, in the closing meters. Krobeth ran a big 5K PR, clocking a time of 15:53, the same as Bertram.
NA's Scott Nalepa was third in 16:09. South Fayette's Jake Borgesi was fourth in 16:12 and Seneca Valley's Noah Petersen was fifth in 16:14. Taylor Allderdice placed second to NA in the team standings, scoring 128 points. Fox Chapel Area was third with 192 points.
Watch the AAA boys race above and check out an interview with Bertram below.