Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)
Unionville, Conestoga second at PIAA meet
HERSHEY » On Saturday morning some of the local high schools put their best foot forward in the PIAA Cross Country Championships at the Parkview Cross Country Course.
Entering the the girls Class AAA meet, the biggest unknown was if Unionville could repeat as state champions. The Indians gave an excellent effort, but came up a bit short, losing to Pennsbury by five points.
The Indians were led by senior Olivia Young, who finished in sixth place overall, with a time of 18:32. It was her final cross country race for Unionville, and she made sure she had no regrets.
“I was really excited for today. I wanted to make this my best race ever,” Young said. “I almost felt like there was less pressure today because you know this is the last time you get to do this. The mindset is to just do your best and enjoy it.”
To finish second in the state is certainly something to be proud of. After the race you could see they were pleased with the accomplishment.
“It was by far the best race our team put together this season. Whatever happens with the results happens; we are all satisfied with the way we ran. Everyone gave it their all. We were really happy with the way the season went,” Young said.
Coatesville’s Brooke Hutton earned a top-10 placing, finishing ninth at 18:36.
Also medaling were Downingtown West’s Aislinn Devlin (10th), Unionville’s Kacie Breeding (15th), Gretchen Mills (19th), and Anna Jull (24th), Conestoga’s Annamarie Shultz (25th) and Great Valley’s Elise Claffey (22nd).
West Chester Henderson looked defend its title in the boys Class AAA race, while state title, Downingtown West wanted to make some noise after getting the final team spot in districts, and Conestoga hoped to build off their District 1 champi- onship a week ago.
The Pioneers took second place in the meet behind champion North Allegheny. Conestoga was led by Andrew Marston, who took third place overall with a time of 15:40.
“The race went out really fast. The first mile split was 4:42. I was feeling pretty good,” Marston said. “The lead kept changing throughout the race, and then the pack took off. I just tried to hang on for as long as I could and do my best.”
Downingtown West finished in fourth place as a team. Before the season started, head coach Scott Burns explained that one of their goals was to perform well in big time races. They accomplished that on Saturday.
The Whippets were led by Henry Sappey, who claimed 10th overall, with a time of 16:07.
“I just tried to get the best start I could. I think I did that. I wanted to stay in the top 25 for the entire race and stay in contention,” Sappey said.
It should be noted just how much progress Sappey has made in the past year. Last season he finished in 84th in District 1, this year he was the tenth fastest male in Class AAA in the entire state.
“Goodness gracious, if I went back and time and someone told me last season that I would get top 10 as a junior, I would say, ‘What?’ I just can’t believe this. I am so happy with today and how well our team did too. They all work so hard and we did this together,” Sappey said.
West Chester Henderson took home a respectable eighth place. One of the medalists for the Warriors was Alex Knapp, who finished in 12th in his final high school cross country race.
“It feels weird that this is the end,” Knapp said. “The years of experience made me smarter this time around. I was in 80th place in the beginning, but I knew I was in good shape. I just played it safe and kept moving up.
The other local medalist in the boys race was Henderson’s Spencer Smucker finishing in 24th.
Other runners who competed in the Class AAA meet were Great Valley’s Tabitha Wismer, Sarah Hipwell, Kayla Beck, Anna Willig, Emily Meehan, and Kari Lownes. Conestoga’s Johanna Nasman, Dominique Shultz, Laura Zhang, Amanda Campbell, Rose Duffy, Celeste Leon, P.J. Murray, Killian Nelson, Nick Cruickshank, Jimmy Cooper, Jack Iffert, and Nick Boccella, Downigntown West’s Emma Planck, Ryan Barton, Jake O’Neill, Ben Ryherd, Charlie Barton, Shaun Bullock, and Patrick Blair, Downingtown East’s Keelan O’Reilly, West Chester East’s Eric Diestelow, West Chester Henderson’s Maddie Bixler, Will Swart, Ben Berkman, Connor McSwain, and Apurva Deshmukh, West Chester Rustin’s Jess Delviscio, Avon Grove’s Josh Smith, Kennett’s Austin Maxwell, Octorara’s Caroline Stickley, and Bishop Shanahan’s Seamus Breslin.