9/15 WKND: OHara rolls-Shearn over Russell in epic in Philly|Yep, N. Allegheny is good (+interviews)





White Clay Creek Classic

Newark High School

Sophomore Amber Hontz of Bayard Rustin won the class race and led her team to a second place overall in the combined team score just five points behind Walt Whitman in 16 team field. Her time of 20:00.4 was also the fasted of the four races. Teammate Julia Bove won the junior class race in 21:15.4. The Bayard Rustin boys tied for second. Rustin senior Chris Coates had the best time of the day in winning the senior race in 17:03.7.

Newark, DE



Photo Gallery by Steve Lee



17th Annual Bulldog Invitational-Big Spring

Big Spring
Vinny Todaro of the host school Big Spring impressed the home fans with a winning performance of 16:09 to win by over 30 seconds. Patrick Reilly of Dallastown was 2nd overall (best AAA) and Brady Wilt of Biglerville was 3rd (best A). The meet crowned three team champions. Fairfield won the class A crown 21-53 over Bible Baptist with six runners in the top ten for the division. Manheim Central defeated host Big Spring 73-91 for the AA title with four inside of the top fifteen. The AAA crown went to Williamsport (MD) who held on to defeat Exeter 79-93.

For the girls, the top PA finisher was Sarah Brzostek of Exeter, who ran 19:59 to hold off Manheim Central's Danae Peter and Chambersburg's Courtney Group. Freshman Emma Gillies of Woodgrove (VA) had the best overall time. Lillie Brown of Boiling Springs had the best AA time (20:11) and Kaitlyn Beckham of Fairfield had the best A time (21:00). Bloomsburg won single A, host Big Spring held off Kennard Dale 84-86 to win the AA title and Chambersburg defeated Carlisle 49-62 with three runners inside of the top ten.

Newville, PA




adidas Cross Country Challenge

NC State University
West Chester Henderson finished 5th of 25 teams in the Championship Race behind the 3rd place finish by Stephanie Aldrich in 18:10. The Kennett boys and girls teams made the trip as well. Evan Jones led Kennett with his 25th place 16:19.2 and a 26th place finish in the 36 team field of over 300 runners in the Championship Race. The girls were 8th in the Girls Invitational Race.
Evan Jones                11 Kennett                16:19.2

Cary, NC




Preview by our NC affiliate, NCRunners.com



Boardman Spartan Invitational

Meet Story and Photos by Phil Grove

Austin Pondel kept looking over his shoulder, but there was nobody there. The Corry Area standout’s punishing opening mile made certain there wouldn’t be anyone close enough this year to steal a victory from him at the Spartan Invitational.

Pondel’s dominating performance in Division II was one of the highlights from a sizable western Pennsylvania contingent in the Boardman, Ohio, meet that had more than 5,200 runners entered in 14 races. North Allegheny’s boys showed why they jumped to PA#1 in Class AAA with their third consecutive event title, while freshman Bernadette Prichard of Villa Maria Academy posted the third-fastest time of the day in winning the Division II girls race comfortably.

A year ago, the smooth-striding Pondel battled to the wire in Division II with Taylor Allderdice’s Ean Disilvio, being outkicked by seven-tenths of a second. Saturday’s ideal conditions – sunshine, barely a breeze and a hard, fast course that was to his liking – provided a perfect backdrop for Pondel’s performance, which made certain there would be no companion for him at the finish line.

 “The first mile was pretty fast, and going into the race I didn’t know any Ohio kids so I wanted to run my own race,” Pondel said. “I had a good cushion, and I was looking back … to see where people were.”
When he hit the mile in 4:53, Pondel was already ahead by almost 10 seconds. Cheered on by spectators lining almost the entire course, the senior rarely saw his closest pursuers and won in an unchallenged 15 minutes, 44.71 seconds. The runner-up was 39 seconds behind.

“I came into this race last year planning on winning it and (Ean) upset me that day,” Pondel recalled. “My training mentality is totally different this year, and I came in (knowing) I was going to win. (Disilvio) switched races so we didn’t get to have our little race together so (winning) was on my mind.

“This course is very flat, very open. I like it. You can get into a rhythm, and there’s only really one hill here (per lap). I like the course even though it is quite a bit different (from Pennsylvania).”

Corry Area coach Katie Kuttenkuler said Pondel’s summer training program, which featured some 75-80 mile weeks, included a new focus on being able to close out races.

“We decided over the summer and also through track season that we were going to work on speed so Austin has really been preparing for stronger finishes than what he has been used to,” she said. “He has always had great endurance, and he’s been able to keep working on that but at the same time he had to work on speed.”

With Allderdice opting for the Division I race Saturday, Disilvio was one of the early leaders in that competition along with always front-running and 2011 winner Dan Jaskowak of Grove City. Leading through the opening half and then mile at 4:57, Jaskowak had company in his western Pennsylvania counterpart and a group of juniors from the Buckeye state in Chardon’s Nick Elswick, Mark Hadley of the host team and Garrett  Crichlow of Twinsburg.

The Ohio trio gained a slight edge over the defending champion just past the 2-mile mark with the second trip up Boardman Hill dead ahead. Elswick was the first to the finish, clocking 15:39.83 to Hadley’s 15:45.13 and Jaskowak’s 15:46.01. Disilvio finished fifth.

“I just have to get a couple more races under my belt,” said Jaskowak, whose summer training was interrupted by a foot injury. “I’ve been running consistently.”

Running bunched closely behind the race leaders, North Allegheny was building a formidable pack that would result in another Spartan Invitational title. Senior Josh Zemet was at the point of a chase pack looming in the shadows of the leaders during the second mile, and a few seconds behind came the rest of the scoring Tigers separated by only a few feet.

“We love coming over here because we get to see some different teams and we get to see some different terrain,” said North Allegheny coach John Neff. “We have a lot of courses around our area that are hilly and this is not. This is flat, and it’s fast and it’s a little bit more like a track meet.

 “I feel like a lot of these runners from Ohio are very similar to the runners that we see over in the east. It’s a great place to come. Boardman runs an awesome meet. It’s one of the most efficient things that I’ve seen. They run 14 races on clockwork, and it’s a great place to be.”

Although they were not able to duplicate or possibly surpass their 17-second spread from the Red, White & Blue Invitational, the Tigers were too much for the field to handle. Zemet was seventh in 16:17.46, with junior Cordon Louco (14th), sophomore Matt McGoey (17th) and senior Michael Meehan (19th) providing the difference in the team scoring as the Tigers’ 93 points was well ahead of Boardman’s 156.

“I’m really pleased with how the kids did,” Neff said. “Now, maybe we didn’t necessarily hold it real tough over the last mile there, and we did have (Scott Seel) out of the race who was in last week. I’m sure that he is going to be back in top form next week. I was very pleased because for the work that we’ve put in, I thought we ran very well.”

In the girls’ race for the big schools, freshman Madeleine Davison provided a jump start for North Allegheny, placing second overall in 19:24.83. Junior Caroline Bojarski and senior Maddie Nellis were ninth and 10th, respectively, to propel the Tigers to a runner-up score of 106 behind Hudson’s 81.

“She didn’t have a great race (last week because of an illness), and I think she had something to prove to herself today,” Neff said of Davison. “Boy, oh, boy, did she ever. We know she’s good, a lot of people know she’s good, but today I’m excited because I think now she sees that she’s good.”

Another underclassman who has a bright future is Villa Maria Academy’s Prichard, who was the meet’s only champion from the lower two grades. Her 18:52.05 clocking in Division II was almost 20 seconds ahead of the field and added to a string of solid performances during her first month as a high school athlete.

“She seems to have a great ability to keep a really nice consistent pace as the race goes on where people start falling back,” said Villa Maria coach Therese Brown. “She is just steady Eddie at that pace. She’s got a nice gift, and she doesn’t come in with a lot of running into ninth grade. It looks to be the beginning of something really good.”

Prichard also is a standout with the school’s tennis team and has balanced a busy schedule thus far.

“So far I like cross country because I’m doing better at it,” said Prichard, who said she started running in kindergarten at the urging of her parents.  “It felt really good because the weather was pretty nice today.”

The opening race of the day produced the fastest clocking over the double-loop course as Cory Glines of St. Thomas Aquinas outdueled Independence’s Kyle Polman, 15:37.87 to 15:41.93, for the top spot in Division III. The team race was equally close as Ohio’s top-ranked teams in the division squared off with No. 1 Maplewood besting archrival and No. 2 McDonald, 65-77.

Flash report and photos by Phil Grove
Austin Pondel of Corry Area and Bernadette Prichard of Villa Maria Academy claimed individual titles in dominating fashion, while Pennsylvania’s top-ranked North Allegheny boys easily claimed their third consecutive team championship Saturday at the Spartan Invitational in Boardman, Ohio.

Outkicked a year ago, Pondel was never threatened in rolling to a nearly 40-second victory in Division II, covering the 5,000-meter course in 15 minutes, 44.71 seconds.
On the girls’ side, Prichard was almost as untouchable, with the freshman’s winning time of 18:52.05 almost 20 seconds ahead of the field.
In Division I, four Tigers were in the top 20 as North Allegheny cruised in the boys’ race, beating host Boardman by 63 points. Dan Jaskowak of Grove City was third in 15:46.01, leading a total of nine western Pennsylvania runners in the top 20.

North Allegheny’s girls finished second behind a runner-up effort from freshman Madeleine Davison. Caroline Bojarski and Maddie Nellis also were top 10 finishers for the Tigers.

Youngstown, OH



Photo Gallery by Phil Grove



(our apologies - email issues delayed posting of these interviews)

John Neff, Head Coach, North Allegheny

Bernadette Prichard, Villa Maria Academy

Austin Pondel, Corry Area



Bradford 9th Annual XC Invitational

Bradford Area
Kennedy Weisner of Elk County Catholic won her 3rd invitational race in a row, winning by 1:20 over teammate Victoria Dippold. Her time of 18:41 is her 3rd straight 18 minute performance this year. Her team's 1-2 finish was enough to bring home the team title 37-48 over host Bradford. For the boys Aziz Yousif of the host schoo Bradford edged out Barrett Kemp of Oswayo Valley by 3 seconds to win the individual title in 16:26. Kemp's team ran well behind his performance and came away with the team title over Northern Potter 51-64.

Bradford, PA






Chris Fretz Invitational

Perkiomen Valley
PA#8 West Chester East came within two points of a perfect score, scoring 1-2-3-4-7 with a 1-5 spread of 40 seconds. Eric Diestelow led the way with a gold medal performance of 16:17, with teammate Chris Cummings running 16:24 to finish 2nd. For the girls, Owen J Roberts defeating host Perkiomen Valley 32-50, led by a 1-2 finish from Sarah Taylor (19:40) and Megan Bernotas (19:46).

Collegeville, PA




Coach Achtzehn Classic

York College of Pennsylvania

York, PA






Forest Festival Invitational


Elkins, WV





George Gerber Junior High Invitational


Annville, PA




Lebanon County Meet

By Ralph Duquette

Palmyra ran its County meet today at South Hills in South Lebanon Township.  Course is gently rolling double loop. 

Palmyra won the girls section, placing 8 of the top 9.  Sophomore Maria Tukis was first in 19:15. She was followed by Senior Olivia Farabaugh (exact time uknown), Soph Miranda Salvo (19:44), defending champ Laura Duquette (1981 Foot Locker runner-up Lois Brommer's daughter in 19:51) and Miriah Ricci (20:00).

Tukis led from start to finish, passing the mile in 5:58 and the 2 in 12:12.

On the boys side, Annville-Cleona's Shawn Wolfe led from start to finish, closely followed by Palmyra's Calvin Conrad-Kline until about 600m from the finish when Wolfe put in a strong surge to finish in 16:01.  CCK took 2nd in 16:20.  3rd was AC's Mark Bachmann about 45 seconds back.

Palmyra, PA




Mansfield University Flatlander High School Invite

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania
Luke Jones of Elk Lake dipped under the 16 minute mark, running 15:59.5 to win the individual title 45 seconds. His performance was not enough to lift his team to victory, as Elmira placed five in the top 17, including a 2-3 finish from Cory McCarthy and Shaun Kurcoba to win 46-54. For the girls, Erika Huffnam of Wyalusing came away with the individual crown with a time of 19:15.9, 13 seconds better than the 2-3 Elmira sister duo of Malinda and Abby Wheeler. Their performance led them to victory over Elk Lake 26-43 with five inside of the top eleven overall.

Mansfield, PA


09/15 18th Lackawanna County Commissioners Inv.
North Pocono boys held off Wyoming Valley West 96-98 to come away with the team title. Both teams ran identical 1-5 spreads of 57 seconds but North Pocono placed three inside of the top 17 to come out on top. Rico Galassi of Holy Cross ran 16:21 to cruise to the individual gold by almost 25 seconds. Freshman Dominic Hockenbury of Lake-Lehman was 2nd in front of teammate Kieran Sutton. For the girls, Pittston Area were led by a 2-3 finish from Catherine Lombardo and Tara Johnson to come away with the team title over Pleasant Valley 74-108. Individual honors went to Alexandria Plant of Wyoming Valley West, running 19:29 to win by 8 seconds.

Scranton, PA





Navy Invitational

US Naval Academy

Annapolis, MD





Northampton Invitational

Northampton Area
Freedom Area boys placed five inside of the top ten to score an impressive 29 points and cruise to victory. Jim Thorpe was 2nd and Schuylkill Valley was 3rd. Dan Quigley led the team champions with a 3rd place finish in 16:46. Alec Lederer of the host school, Northampton, won the gold medal on home territory with a time of 16:23 to win by 14 seconds over Anthony Brinkely of Catasauqua. For the girls, Freedom completed the team title sweep with three in the top ten led by individual champion Shaina Palmer (19:37) to score 67 points and win by 36. Host school Northampton finished 2nd and Bethlehem Catholic finished 3rd.

Northampton, PA



Photo Gallery by NAZXCOUNTRY



Penn State-Behrend Invitational

Penn State-Behrend
Union City placed five in the top eight led by a gold medal performance from Ben Luce (17:33.4) and a bronze medal performance from Isaish Gardner to cruise to the team title with a score of 24 points. The Union City girls were not as lucky, finishing 2nd in the girls race by one point behind Cambridge Springs, 53-54. Courtney Sargent of Strong Vincent came away with the individual title, running 20:13.5 to win by under a second over Olivia Mamula of Cambridge Springs.

Behrend, PA







Red Dragon XC Invitational

Eisenhower finished 4th in the boys team behind the 4-5 finishes of Devin VanGuilder and Anthony Ambroski, in 17:05.

Bemus Point, NY




Slippery Rock Invitational

Slippery Rock University
Single A PA#1 Central Cambria girls made it three wins from three invitationals, taking the team title in the single A with 64 points to defeat A PA#3 Laurel by 17. Alyssa Brandis won her 2nd invitational in three tries, running 19:31 to win by 11 seconds. In AA, Moon Area held off Knoch 66-73 with three runners inside the top 11 led by a silver medal performance from Madison Marince (20:06). West Allegheny's Alexis O'Shea won the individual crown with a time of 19:48. In AAA, Mount Lebanon were two points away from a perfect score, winning the team title with 17 points. The PA#4 squad were led by a gold medal performance from Jillian Hunsberger (19:10) and the team had a 1-5 spread of 91 seconds.

For the boys, Ryan Smathers cruised to the individual title with a time of 16:07 to lead his single A PA#4 team to the team championship over Our Lady of Sacred Hear 90-122. This is Smathers first victory in three attempts this season. In AA, South Fayette used a 7-8 finish from Ryan Lerda and Evan Zombek to win the team title over Mars Area 55-70. Chris Georgiadis of Mars ran 16:58 to win the gold medal by 2 seconds over Lukas Hallett of General McLane. In AAA, Moon Area were the top PA team, scoring 97 points to finish 2nd behind Massillon Perry (OH). Trevor Blackwell of New Castle ran 16:55 to win the gold medal by 8 seconds of Chris Culley of Moon Area.

Slippery Rock, PA



Photo Gallery by Carl Strub



Gwynedd Mercy College Invitational

Gwynedd-Mercy College

Gwynedd Valley, PA