Anna Stitzer took home the top individual spot, pulling away from a wide open field to capture the state title. On the team side, Notre Dame Green Pond, on the back of some late-season momentum ran away with the team title.
Anna Stitzer learned quite a bit from her third place finish at the Foundation Invitational back in September. On the same Hershey course where she raced on Saturday, the Penns Valley Area senior went out hard and faded a bit at Foundation. At the state meet, in the Class A girls race, Stitzer went a little easier in the early going of the race.
It paid off in the long run, as Stitzer put a lot of space on the rest of the field and rolled to the state title in 19:32. Stitzer moved to the front just before the mile and kept it going from there to take the victory by five seconds. After taking 23rd last year and being apart of Penns Valley's state championship-winning team, Stitzer took home the individual title on Saturday.
Portage Area's Lauren Shaffer claimed second in 19:37, closing the gap late on Stitzer, and making it a 1-2 finish for District 6. Shaffer bookends her career with state runner-up finishes; she was second as a freshman and adds another silver in her senior year.
Freshman Kate Korty of Forest City was third in 20:00, continuing her terrific first high school season. Jamestown Area's Claire Anderson was fourth in 20:11 and Grace Neubert of Elk County Catholic was fifth in 20:13. Alexis Abbett of Aquinas Academy was just behind her, taking sixth in 20:14, edging out seventh place Kate Moncavage of Southern Columbia, who was seventh in the same time.
On the team side, Notre Dame Green Pond left no doubt about it at the top of the standings. NDGP got out hard, and stayed there, rolling to the program's first XC state championship with 117 points when it was all said and done. Notre Dame also became the first Colonial League team to win the state title in cross country.
It was Notre Dame's pack that got it done. The Crusaders' top four girls were separated by just four seconds. Lauren Bower led the way for NDGP, taking 43rd in 21:29. Sarah Sidoro was 45th in 21:32 and Olivia Schweitzer was 46th in 21:33. Katherine Koons took 48th in 21:33 to round out that impressive pack. Serena Azallina was 95 in 22:33 to complete the scoring five for Notre Dame. It was a 43-point victory for the first team champions of the meet.
It was very close for the next few places. Ultimately, Mohawk came away with the other podium spot. Mohawk, led by its No. 1 runner Natalie Lape (20th place), scored 160 points, which was a point better than third place Montrose, which scored 161 for third. Not far off those teams was Marion Center Area, which took fourth with 165.