PJP teams win AA team ti­tles; Boy­er­town’s McComb places third in boys’ 3A

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - By Mer­cury staff sports@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @Pottsmer­cS­ports on Twit­ter

LOWER SAU­CON >> “How about a new dy­nasty?”

Head coach Lisa Cagli­ola posed that chal­lenge to the Pope John Paul II girls af­ter they ran their race Fri­day. It was a chal­lenge an­swered by both the pro­gram’s teams at the Dis­trict 1 Cham­pi­onship Meet.

The Golden Pan­ther boys and girls both fin­ished as champs in the dis­trict’s Class AA field. While the girls were a first-ever ti­tlist and state­meet qual­i­fier at the team level, the boys de­fended their 1-AA crown at Le­high Uni­ver­sity’s Good­man Sta­dium com­plex.

In the boys’ AAA com­pe­ti­tion, Boy­er­town’s Chris­tian McComb fol­lowed last week’s cham­pi­onship run in the Pi­o­neer Ath­letic Con­fer­ence meet with a third at Le­high. The Bear ju­nior ran a 15:36.8 be­hind race win­ner Cole Walker of Unionville (15:34.5) and run­ner-up Pay­ton Se­wall of Down­ing­town West (15:36).

“I’m happy with it,” he said. “I imag­ined win­ning, and I wanted to win ... I put it in my head to go out and win.”

McComb’s bid for a gold medal was thwarted when he got cut off at the course’s hill. But his clock­ing was a per­sonal best by 11 sec­onds.

“My goal is a top five at Her­shey,” he said. “My goal is to win, but there are great kids from across the state run­ning.”

Perkiomen Val­ley’s Tyler Clif­ford turned in a Top 10 ef­fort, the ju­nior go­ing ninth in 15:49. Owen J. Roberts’ Li­nus Blatz (22nd, 15:59.60) and Phoenixville’s Gabe Puleo (25th, 16:01.9) were fol­lowed by PAC com­peti­tors like Spring-Ford’s John Zaw­is­lak (27th), Methac­ton’s Matt Vargh­ese (36th) and OJR’s Thomas Dami­ani (40th),

Roberts qual­i­fied for states as a team, fin­ish­ing sixth with 265 points. Its other high dis­trict fin­ish­ers were Vin­cent Fen­nell (54th), Quin­ten Sher­wood (71st) and David Brun­ton (78th).

In the AAA girls’ com­pe­ti­tion, Pottsgrove’s Naomi Hillen was the PAC’s top fin­isher. The Fal­con sopho­more, win­ner of the PAC race, placed 24th in 18:59.50 to rank as the con­fer­ence’s lone Top 25 run­ner.

“I was hop­ing to be in the Top 20,” she said, “but there were some who ran faster than ex­pected. Mu goal was to break 19, and I did that.

“It (AAA) was more dra­matic, with more peo­ple on the line. We were AA last year.”

Be­hind Hillen, SpringFord’s Emily Smith was 28th, Perkiomen Val­ley’s De­laney O’Sul­li­van 41st, and OJR’s Han­nah Kopec 47th and Macken­zie Kurtz 51st.

The PJP girls out­ran Villa Joseph Marie, 5660, led by the Top 10 fin­ishes of Kayla Croiger and Gi­anna Cagli­ola. Croiger placed fourth in 20:04 while Ca­gi­ola was eighth in 20;13.8.

The Pan­thers were bol­stered by Top 20 ef­forts from Kathryn Todd (11th), Ju­lia Costello (15th) and Na­talie Florig (20th). They will all head to Her­shey for next week­end’s PIAA Cham­pi­onship Meet, joined by fel­low var­sity run­ners Clau­dia Dolan (28th) and Sarah Abruzzo (32nd).

“We’ve been fly­ing un­der the radar,” Cagli­ola noted. “Villa Maria has been tough for four years.”

Croiger edged out Gwynedd Mercy’s Kelly Mur­ray for the fourth spot by 6/10ths of a sec­ond. The PJP fresh­man started her move from the mid­dle of the pack be­fore mount­ing a surge with about 150 me­ters left.

“I gave it ev­ery­thing I have,” she said. “I slowly in­creased the pace. At the end, it was pretty close.”

Cagli­ola had a solid seven-sec­ond lead on VJM’s Bri­anna Kling at the fin­ish. An­other of PJP’s fresh­men — Todd is an­other ninth-grader — Cagli­ola was con­fi­dent of the team’s abil­ity to score a team cham­pi­onship.

“I fig­ured we had a pretty good chance of do­ing it,” she said. “With our 3-4-5 run­ners to­gether, I felt we could pull it off.”

Coach Cagli­ola’s stated per­cep­tion “It’s eas­ier to win a cham­pi­onship than to de­fend one” not­with­stand­ing, the Pope John Paul boys hand­ily fin­ished as dis­trict cham­pion even while be­ing con­tested by sec­ond-place Pottsgrove.

The Pan­thers placed five run­ners in the Top 10, led by the 2-3 fin­ish of Jack Bro­sius and Jack Phillips. Bro­sius was a very close sec­ond to race win­ner Shane Co­hen of Lower More­land, cross­ing the line 6/10ths of a sec­ond back (16:29.6) af­ter lead­ing the pack for a good por­tion of the race.

Phillips clocked a 16:41.7 ahead of Pottsgrove’s La­ree Hills (16:57.6), who was fol­lowed in turn by PJP’s Kaden Buch­ler (17:02) and Jack Flynn (17:13.2). John Schiele was ninth (17:23.6), trail­ing the Fal­cons’ Si­mon Keen (17:20.1) but beat­ing out Bryce Hamp­ton (10th, 17;26.6) and Bran­don Hen­rik­sen (11th, 17:37).

Ja­son Di­Marco (13th) and Luke McCarthy (18th) will round out the Pan­thers’ Her­shey con­tin­gent. Pottsgrove will have a trio ot state qual­i­fiers in Hills, Keen and Hamp­ton. NOTES >> The boys’ Class A com­pe­ti­tion saw Jenk­in­town sweep the top five spots on the way to the team cham­pi­onship. Jack and Luke Miller went 1-2 in the fin­ish­ing or­der . ...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.