PIAA Foundation Invitational: Meet Recap

Girls Races

The fastest girls' time of the day went to Blue Mountain's Olivia Haas from the Blue (AA) Race. The senior claimed her third victory of the season, and this one was the same as the previous two: a solo effort. Haas pulled away early and never looked back, storming to the win in a 18:42, a time that was not topped in the Gold Race. Selinsgrove's Shaela Kruskie was second in 19:58, rounding out an impressive day for the sophomore.

Villa Maria Academy, led by the third and fourth place finishers, ran away with the team title. Freshman Hannah Palmer was third in 20:25 and Sarah Clark was fourth in 20:26 to lead the way for Villa, which scored 81 points. Beaver Area took second with 158 points and Danville Area was third with 188 points, followed by fourth place North Catholic (219).

In the Gold (AAA) Race, Logan St. John Kletter of Mount Lebanon grabbed her first win of the season. The sophomore had three big top five finishes before Saturday, but she moved into the top spot in the Gold Race, pulling away late to win in 18:46. North Allegheny's Wren Kucler continued her big freshman campaign, and was second in 18:54. Claire Zubey of Owen J. Roberts took third in 19:08. NA's Eva Kynaston (fourth in 19:12) and Mechanicsburg's Olivia Walter (fifth in 19:22) rounded out the top five,

North Allegheny captured the team title in runaway fashion with three girls in the top seven. The Tigers scored 63 points for the victory. Mount Saint Joseph Academy continued its hot streak, taking second with 153 points. State College placed third with 193 points, closely followed by fourth place Pine-Richland (200 points). Mechanicsburg Area was fifth with 224 points.

In the White (A) Race, Krista Jones of Elk Lake used a slightly conservative start and moved up throughout the field to eventually capture the win in 20:02. Portage Area's Lauren Shaffer was second in 20:12 and early leader Anna Stitzer of Penns Valley was third in 20:40.

Our Lady Of Sacred Heart won the team race in relatively convincing fashion, scoring 117 points. Marion Center Area was second on a tiebreaker over third place Winchester Thurston. Both teams had 150 points. Elk County Catholic was fourth and Portage Area took fifth.

Boys Races

It was a close battle up front for the win in the Gold (AAA) Race. York Suburban's Cole Adams, who ran to a seventh place state finish during his last run on the Hershey course, came out with the win, running 16:28 to beat out a competitive field. The race was hotly contested with Owen J. Roberts' Andrew McGonigle taking second in 16:33. Downingtown East took the next two spots with Brendan Flynn and Caiden Leen both running 16:35 for third and fourth.

North Allegheny won the team title, putting just 69 points on the board. Jack Bertram was fifth, Scott Nalepa was sixth, and Ryan Podnar was eighth to lead the way for the Tigers' dominant effort. Downingtown East was second with 144 points, and Lower Merion was third with 160.

State College Area was fourth with 207, right in front of fifth place Owen J. Roberts, which scored 209.

It's now three wins on the season for Ringgold's Ryan Pajak, who won the Blue (AA) Race in the day's fastest boys time, 16:21. Pajak, just a sophomore, broke free of a solid pack around the midway point of the race. He powered home for win No. 3 of the season. Lampeter Strasburg's Colin Whitaker came home second in 16:34 -- a strong showing for the fellow sophomore. Danville's Rory Lieberman was third in 16:47 and Kennard-Dale's Garrett Quinan was fourth in 16:49.

The team race was a great battle between some of the state's best. In the end, Northwestern Lehigh came out on top, scoring 89 points to edge out Grove City Area (94 points) by five points. NW Lehigh put four in the top 20, led by Matthew Santana (sixth) and Samuel Bower (ninth), and had a 1-5 gap of 1:10. Lampeter Strasburg was a close third with 107 points. Add in two-time defending state champs Lewisburg Area and we will see an epic battle for the state crown between these four favorites in November.

In the White (A) Race, Lance Nicholls of Winchester Thurston claimed the win in 17:18. Nicholls caught Jenkintown's Oliver Michell around the midway point of the race and extended his lead from there. Michell ran well to take second in 17:33. Riverside's Daniel Danilovitz was third in 17:38.

The Nicholls-led Winchester Thurston boys claimed the team title with a 2-3-4-5 contingent that was separated by just 26 seconds. The Bears scored 102 points for the win. York Catholic was second with 131 points and Cranberry was third with 160 points. Jenkintown was fourth and Rocky Grove was fifth.