Bobcat Harriers Have Strong Showing At States (11/09/17)

(By Coach Keith Murtha)

Following their amazing performance at Districts, that saw the Clarion Bobcat Boys Team claim District IX Runner up and the second team qualifier to the PIAA State Championships in Hershey, The Bobcats, 9 strong were off!

The team was composed of Nathaniel Lerch, Nick & Noah Schill, Daniel Ketner, Frank Weber, Don Cunningham, Jacob Smith and Nate Datko.  Katie Craig represented the ladies as an individual qualifier, her third straight feat!

On Wednesday, while Pre-K through 12 grade were at the high school, over 1000 students, teachers and staff wished the Bobcat fall teams who have been and continue to be so successful, luck! The Cross country team was wished luck and sent off out of the gym as the band played.

Then on Friday, The Bobcats were escorted out of town on a Clarion Fire truck, led by Clarion Borough Police as Teachers and staff started at the high school, business stretched out along main street and community members gathered in Memorial Park.

On Saturday, in Hershey, Katie started things off, keeping up her consistency with a 6th place KSAC finish in 23:10, #160 of 250 state qualifiers.  Then it was the boys turn and they did not disappoint. Seeded 15th, they finished a very respectable, 12th of 18 teams and 89 schools from around the commonwealth represented.

(Photos courtesy of Clarion Cross Country

Sophomore Nathaniel Lerch led the pack, fighting through a back injury he had been treating all week, finishing 34th in 17th, followed by Nick Schill (46th) 18:14 and twin Noah Schill (68th) 18:52, Senior Frank Weber had a strong finish (78th) in 19:04.  Don Cunningham had a strong run as a freshmen (90th) 19:19 Daniel Ketner (93) and Jacob Smith (101) closed things up in 19:25 and 19:44.

Bringing a team to States has been a goal of ours, for a couple years now, and once you do it, you really want to go back!


Team records supplied by former Bobcat Coach and well known District 9 Track & Field official Bob Bowersox show the Clarion boys team has qualified for states at least 3 times, 1974 led by D9 Champion Ben Breniman, and again in 1976.

Finally in 1987, now Clarion University Coach Eric Laughlin led his team to a D 9 Championship and they qualified for States.

Bobcat Icon Jack Morgan was a 3x D9 champ and took second at States in 1979 and now you know the history of Clarion XC!

This Generation of Bobcat runners hopes to continue the proud tradition started by the runners of the 1970s and 1980’s.

Most importantly, we would like to thank the Teachers, Staff, Student Body, Administration, Community, Police, Fire Department, Media Outlets and Booster Club for their amazing support this season.

It is events like this that make growing up in a small town like Clarion such a special place!

The team will host an end of season banquet, Thursday, November 16th, 6PM in the high school cafeteria.  Many of the varsity runners will go on to participate in Nike Cross Regionals Thanksgiving weekend on the well known Bowdin Park Course in Wappingers Falls, NY on the banks of the Hudson River.

(Thanks to Coach Murtha for this article. GREAT SEASON, CATS!!!!)