Above: The Winning NA Squad details their Victory
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On Saturday, the North Allegheny girls picked up a sixth straight 3A title, further cementing the team's legacy as one of the greatest of all time. Last year, North Allegheny became the first to win five in a row; now, they become the first team to win six.
The team race was a lot closer than expected. North Allegheny trailed Abington Heights and Manheim Township after the opening mile, but by the halfway mark, the NA Tigers retook the helm as Eva Kynaston, Robin Kucler, and Erin McGoey all positioned themselves in the Top 15. Abington Heights trailed by 40 points, and Manheim Township was 48 back.
Kynaston continued to have one of the best races of her career. The senior unexpectedly challenged Logan St. John Kletter late and fell short of the individual title. She crossed the line at 18:19, which was her best time on the course in her career.
For Abington Heights, it was a stellar effort despite finishing second to NA. Led by Emma Horsley and Anna Pucilowski in 56th and 57th, Abington Heights posted 127 points through its incredible 28-second compression. They put themselves in a position to steal the victory if something went awry for North Allegheny.
Top 5 Teams (Full Results)
|1||North Allegheny||80||2+6+9+24+39 (44+45)||2:22 1-5 Split | 19:27 Avg|
|2||Abington Heights||127||18+19+27+31+32 (57+69)||0:28 1-5 Split | 20:18 Avg|
|3||Manheim Township||153||10+17+22+40+64 (75+124)||1:59 1-5 Split | 20:15 Avg|
|4||Mount Saint Joseph Academy||160||3+20+26+51+60 (113+115)||2:26 1-5 Split | 20:12 Avg|
|5||Norwin||191||13+37+42+49+50 (59+80)||1:22 1-5 Split | 20:34 Avg|
Notably, Jane Kratz (OJR) was a DNS for Owen J. Roberts, which hurt the team's expectations as a potential contender.
A Nightmare turns into a Dream for LSJK
Above: LSJK details her Championship Run
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What started as a nightmare season for Logan St. John Kletter (Mount Lebanon) ended like a dream. She sat out of competition for September while nursing various leg pains and ailments.
Finally, she debuted at the Bald Eagle Invitational on October 7th, less than a month ago. She then ran four meets, winning three of them, including the WPIAL Championship. She would then set her sights on her first XC State Title.
The State Title has evaded her. She finished second at the 2021 rendition before falling to tenth in 2022. This felt like a redemption year for Kletter, who had been considered one of the favorites last year.
Shana Kearney (Bensalem) and Sienna Miller (Perkiomen Valley) brought the pack out blisteringly while the headlining individuals seemed to bide their time. The pack came through the opening mile in 5:35.
By the time the field reached the 2500m mark, a six-runner breakaway had formed. Kynaston led Eliza Miller (Kiski), Claire Paci (Greencastle-Antrim), Ella Woehlcke (Mount Saint Joseph), Ella Wolfe (Hempfield), and Kletter, who had strategically positioned herself at the back.
It was clear that she was saving her energy for a tough second half. Just 700 meters later, Kletter found herself at the front, pressing hard to build separation between herself and Kynaston. Paci, Wolfe, and Woehlcke followed them through. For the most part, nothing changed over the final mile.
Kletter powered her way to the title in 18:13, while Kynaston finished in second and Paci in third.
Above: Paci discusses her third place finish.
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Wolfe and Woehlcke finished in fourth and fifth, while Lillian DiCola (Hatboro Horsham) passed Eliza Miller late for the sixth spot.
Notably, Olivia Cieslak was a DNS for Haverford. She suffered a lower leg injury late in the week and could not race. She was arguably Kletter's top competition heading into the event.
Top 10 Finishers (Full Results)
|1||Logan St. John Kletter||12||Mount Lebanon||18:13.00||1|
|2||Eva Kynaston||12||North Allegheny||18:19.00||2|
|4||Ella Wolfe||12||Hempfield 03||18:31.00|
|5||Ella Woehlcke||12||Mount Saint Joseph Academy||18:36.00||3|
|6||Lillian DiCola||11||Hatboro Horsham||18:43.00|
|7||Eliza Miller||12||Kiski Area||18:46.00|
|9||Chloe Poindexter||12||State College||18:46.00||4|
|10||Gabrielle Keith||12||Exeter Township||18:48.00||5|