Strong showing for Riverview boys, girls at WPIAL cross country championships
The Riverview, Greensburg Salem and North Allegheny cross country programs compete in different classifications, but after Thursday’s WPIAL championship meet on the Roadman Park course at Cal (Pa.), they have something in common.
They will have their boys and girls teams competing at the PIAA championships Nov. 3 in Hershey.
The Riverview boys finished as runners-up in Class A for the third year in a row and clinched their fourth straight trip to states, and the Riverview girls, the fourth-place team in Class A, will run at states for the first time since 2015.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to take such a large group to states,” Riverview coach Palma Ostrowski said. “The boys and girls are such a tight group, and they really support each other. If one team hadn’t made it, the other might not have felt as complete.”
On the boys side, Raiders sophomore Mason Ochs tied for third (17 minutes, 16 seconds) with Winchester Thurston junior Scott Routledge. Fellow sophomore Gideon Deasy placed ninth (17:47), and freshman Lucas Wilton was 18th (18:09).
Riverview, however, was unable to catch champion Winchester Thurston, which had four finish in the top 10.
The girls team improved from a sixth-place finish last season.
“We all had really good vibes about this race,” said junior Marina Pietz, who finished 11th (22:04). “We just wanted to leave it all out on the course.”
Ally Johnson, a sophomore, came in 21st (22:34), hitting a personal best by 30 seconds.
The Fox Chapel girls will have a shot at defending their state championship after placing third in Class AAA behind champion North Allegheny and runner-up Oakland Catholic.
Sarena Seeger, who was runner-up to Oakland Catholic’s Hannah Shupansky. Seegers 19:00 finish helped lead the effort with Grace Sisson in fourth (19:14) and Brooke Krally in 20th (20:19).
“We all were really focusing on running our best, finishing as high as possible and making it back to states,” Sisson said. “We were all really motivated. We ran for each other.”
Knoch junior Sammy Jo Barnes jumped 12 places from 29th as a freshman to 17th last year, and she qualified for states in Class AA. She moved up another 11 places this year, finishing in 20:38.
“My coach told me I needed to start the first mile strong, run the second mile smart and my third mile fast,” Barnes said. “That’s what was running through my mind, and it’s exactly how it played out. I didn’t run really well at states last year, so I am looking for redemption.”
Fox Chapel junior Christian Fitch finished in 16:24 for third in Class AAA boys behind WPIAL champion Daniel McGoey from North Allegheny (16:01) and Mt. Lebanon’s Patrick Anderson (16:20).
“I was giving everything I had to catch (Anderson), but I just didn’t have another gear today,” Fitch said. “I know I can do it. I just need to regroup and have another kick at states.”
Fitch continues to return to top form from a right knee injury suffered earlier this season.
“It was nice to see I could come back and race against the top guys like I had been doing before I got hurt,” he said.
Freshman CJ Singleton, the only runner representing St. Joseph this season, made the most of his WPIAL debut. He was seventh after the first mile of the boys Class A race, rose to fifth after Mile 2 and maintained that spot with a time of 17:28.
“This time, I was running tactically, and the practice run last Saturday really helped me,” Singleton said. “I took it easy out and then just attacked that big hill in the middle. I died a little bit after that, but there were others who died more than me.”
The Alle-Kiski Valley will be well represented at the PIAA championships as several others made their mark and punched tickets to states.
Kiski Area senior Kierra Shreffler is going back to Hershey after finishing 15th in the girls AAA race (20:08).
Four area runners qualified from the boys AA race were Deer Lakes senior Josh Yourish (13th, 17:37), Knoch junior Braden Zukowski (21st, 17:49), Freeport senior Josh McCoy (24th, 18:04) and Highlands junior CJ Thimons (29th, 18:11).