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17th Mercersburg Academy Invitational

Mercersburg Academy
Hill School boys finished 3rd with a score of 76 points, led by a 12th place finish from Preston Tietjen in 18:31. The Hill School girls finished 9th with a score of 214 points, which was led by an 18th place finish from Monica Redfern.

Mercersburg, PA




3rd Annual Midwest Catholic Cross Country Championships

Mercyhurst Prep boys ran in the gold race and finished 11th with a score of 259 points. They were led by a 12th place finish from Sebastian Curtin in 16:35.

Kettering, OH




4th Annual Crimson Hawk Invitational

Indiana University of Pennsylvania
The boys competition was extremely close, as Punxsutawney and Indiana Area tied on points at the top wih 89 each. Zach Moore of Punxsutawney sealed the victory as the better 6th man by nine places. Blairsville finished 3rd with 90 points and Ligonier Valley was 4th with 91 points. Ryan Louther of Indiana ran 17:35.2 to win the individual title by nearly 20 seconds. The Punxsutawney girls had a much easier time winning the team title than the boys, defeating Marion Center 25-61. Punxsutawney were led by individual champion Julianna Boddorf, who ran 20:57.4 to win by 15 seconds.

Indiana, PA





60th Annual George School Invitational

George School
The Penn Charter boys were impressive once again as they won their 3rd stright invitational in a row. The Quakers were led by a 1-2-3 finish from ET Dumas (16:41), Scott Mason (16:42) and Ben Szuhaj (16:42) to score 20 points with a 1-5 spread of 60 seconds. For the girls, Gwynedd-Mercy Academy came away with the team title, scoring 42 points to defeat Germantown Academy by 30. Emma Keenan finished 5th to lead the way for the team winners. Catie Skinner of Penn Charter won the individual title, running 19:10 to win by over 40 seconds.

Newtown, PA





A.J. Everhart Invitational

Uniontown Area
Host Uniontown girls came away with a one point victory over Ohio's University High School 68-69. Julie Friend led the home team with an individual title in a time of 19:13.8 to win by four seconds and they placed five inside the top 21 to earn the win. For the boys, Baldwin finished 2nd with a score of 85 points led by Christian Labash's 8th place finish. They would finish ten points behind University for the team title.

Uniontown, PA




Bowdoin XC Classic


Germantown Friends traveled up to New York to compete at the Bowdoin Invite and finished in 8th place in the Varsity 1 race with 168 points. Sami Aziz (6th in 16:23) and Lyle Wistar (11th in 16:40) led the way for the Tigers. The girls were led by a 15th place finish from Eliza Lukens-Day in 20:37.66

Wappingers Falls, NY






Bulldog Invitational-Rose Tree


Central Bucks West girls came off their dual meet win over Central Bucks East with a win over Downingtown West in the large school race. CB West were led by individual champion Maddie Villalba's 19:34.4 and they placed five in the top nine and six in the top eleven to win 24-43. In the small school race, Radnor came away with a win in convincing fashion over Harriton 33-69. Ariane Abadi led the way for Radnor with a big win in 19:16, over one minte better than 2nd place.

For the boys, West Chester East continued their hot running, winning their 3rd consecutive invitational. The win was earned with four inside of the top five led by individual champion Chris Cummings (16:18) and their score of 28 points was 21 points better than Downingtown West. In the small school race, Radnor earned a narrow victory over Malvern 66-72. Radnor placed three in the top ten led by a 6th place finish from Watson Hanson. Max Norris of Harriton ran 16:10.9 to win the individual title by just under six seconds over Jason Hoey of Malvern Prep.


Media, PA




Fox Chapel Middle School Invitationa;

Fox Chapel Area

Pittsburgh, PA




Frostburg State XC Invitational

Frostburg State University

Frostburg, MD





Owego Invitational


Owego, NY




Lock Haven Invitational

Lock Haven University

Lock Haven, PA





Malone Invitational

Malone University

Canton, OH





Rambler Classic

Cathedral Prep

Erie, PA






Saint Vincent College Invitational

Saint Vincent College

Latrobe, PA




Sharpsville Blue Devil Invite

Sharpsville Area
Austin Pondel still hasn’t found what he’s been looking for during the 2012 cross country season.
Lizzie Manickas, on the other hand, reached a milestone during Saturday’s Blue Devil Invitational in Sharon.

The Corry Area and Neshannock standouts were the first to cross the finish line in the varsity races at Buhl Park in a dress rehearsal for the District 10 meet on the same course in five weeks. In the team competitions, state-ranked West Middlesex and Pittsburgh Central Catholic had sizable margins at the top of the standings.

High mileage prepares Pondel for late-season races

For the second consecutive Saturday, Pondel played hide and seek with the field, and the 260-plus runners in the boys’ race never had a chance. A state medalist in 2011 in Class AAA, Pondel stopped the clock at 15:32.9, winning the race by almost a full minute in a cross country PR.

“Coming into the race (with) everyone down at Hershey this weekend, competition-wise I knew it would be slimmer,” the winner said. “I wanted to run a fast time, go for the course record. I came up a little bit short today, but it’s still a good time for the middle of the season.”

Not one to rush to the front, Pondel blended into the pack as the runners climbed Kite Hill in the opening half mile. On the downhill side, he hit his cruising gear, taking the lead from Maplewood’s Jeremy Parsons.

“Last year, we didn’t come to (the Blue Devil Invite), and at districts it was our first time here,” the winner said of his return to the park. “(Running here today) is a good reminder of where you can make moves and where you can push some.”

The Corry Area senior stretched his lead to 30 seconds as he reached the base of the hill for the second time. Pondel hit two miles in 9:59 and had only to navigate the twists and turns of the course’s wooded section and the spectator-lined chute for another victory.

“If I look over my shoulder and there’s a gap, I want to run fast and … make the gap bigger,” Pondel said of checking on his race lead. “It’s a little mental thing.”

Working on a 60-plus mile week, Pondel will lead the Beavers into a critical triangular meet Tuesday at Union City with North East and standout Ryan Smathers.

“We do a short taper, and probably the second to last week in October we’ll start bringing it down,” Pondel said of his current mileage. “Right now, it’s still heavy training and I could feel it some today in the race. To run that fast and feel a little tired is good.

“(High mileage) is something I’ve done. And probably intensity-wise we’re not doing as fast of stuff as other schools but just the high mileage, it suits me well and I feel good off of it.”

Ethan Wilson of Laurel finished second in 16:26, while Matt Haupt of Our Lady of Sacred Heart was third in 16:32.4 and Parsons held on for fourth in 16:34.1. Central Catholic had a pair of runners in the top 10 en route to 83 points and the title, with West Middlesex (PA#2 Class A) the runner-up with 170.
Neshannock runner reaches time goal

Kite Hill factors into just about any race strategy on the Buhl Park course, and Neshannock’s Manickas used a conservative approach in tackling the uphill on the first go-round.

 “I started out slowly because I didn’t want to go out too fast in the beginning going up (Kite) Hill,” Manickas said. “At the mile mark, I just played catch-up and then took the lead.”

The eventual winner worked herself some breathing room by the beginning of the second loop, having about a 10-second edge on Kristen White of West Middlesex.  

“I just kept positive because that part of the race is really challenging because you are going up that hill and it’s dragging,” Manickas said of climb No. 2. “I knew when I got to the two-mile mark, I’d just go.”

Leading the way for the Big Reds, White never gave up chase and sliced a few seconds off the gap as the field made the final turn toward the finish line. Manickas held off the challenge, covering the 5K in 19:31.6 with White clocking 19:38.4.

“It feels kind of good because I have been aiming for the 19s for a while, so finally getting it makes me feel really good,” the winner said.
Head coach Bob Morris of West Middlesex also was pleased as his PA#2 Class A squad was a big winner. The Big Reds had 60 points to 125 for McDowell and 129 for Hickory. Laurel (PA#3 Class A) was fourth with 158.

“It’s very gratifying because this bunch of kids is really pretty young,” Morris said of his first-place team’s performance. “We just have a pack of kids that really work hard no matter what.

“Thursday, we ran 600-meter striders uphill, and we turned around and ran a couple downhill. They just killed themselves, and then they ice whirlpooled. I really didn’t know what to expect today because we worked a little hard for Thursday for coming to a meet of this magnitude.”
In support of White, West Middlesex featured Chloe Tyillian in 12th, Alyson Pierce 13th, Kelsey Murray 19th and Jordan Aubel in 28th.

“Cross country is a fine line between staying healthy and working,” Morris said in analyzing his squad’s chances for a trip to Hershey. “Once in a while you cross that line and a kid gets hurt and there’s nothing you can do about it. If we can stay healthy...

“I really haven’t broken the district down yet, we’re trying to go the ladder one step at a time. I’d lie if I said I haven’t looked at it, but I really haven’t gone and broken it down yet.”

Flash summary by Phil Grove
Lizzie Manickas of Neshannock and Austin Pondel of Corry Area walked off with the individual titles at the Blue Devil Invitational in Sharon. A junior, Manickas covered the double-loop course in 19:31.6, holding off a late rush by Kristen White of team champion West Middlesex (PA#2 Class A). The Big Reds put four runners in the top 20 en route to a title-winning 60 points, with McDowell second with 125 and Hickory third at 129. Laurel (PA#3 Class A) was fourth with 158.
In the boys' race, Pondel was never threatened in posting a PR 15:32.9 in a dress rehearsal for the District 10 championship on the Buhl Park course. Laurel's Ethan Wilson closed the best for second in 16:26, with Matt Haupt of Our Lady of Sacred Heart third in 16:32.4. Pittsburgh Central Catholic was the team champion, posting 83 points to 170 for West Middlesex (PA#2 Class A).

Sharon, PA



Photo Gallery by Phil Grove


Photo Gallery by Carl Strub



Austin Pondel, Corry Area

Lizzie Manickas, Neshannock

Bob Morris, Head Coach, West Middlesex