Clarion Area Boys And Girls Varsity Cross Country Score At The Top At Rig Red Invitational (09/10/18)
(By Matt Lerch)
For years Clarion Area Cross Country runners have ran against top teams in the region at the Big Red Invitational at West Middlesex to kick off the fall running season. This time, on September 8th, 2018, was different as the top 5 Clarion boys all ran sub 19:00 and clinched a 4th place status amongst 30 area cross country teams. The depth of the Clarion team is so strong that the Junior Varsity boys came in 10th out of 17 teams.
Captain Nathaniel Lerch led the team with an 8th place finish amongst 224 runners with a new personal record of 17:01. Not far behind were Don Cunningham and Co-Captain Nick Schill with times of 18:08 and 18:09 respectively. The all-important 4th and 5th runners for Clarion were Noah Schill (18:46) and Daniel Ketner (18:52). Freshman Gavin Hoover came in 6th for Clarion with a 19:50 performance and senior Jacob Smith rounded out the Clarion team finish notching a 20:12.
The Clarion Area girls showed up meaning business as well at West Middlesex. The girls team came in 10th out of 17 teams with freshman Bella Scott leading the Bobcat girls with an outstanding performance placing 25th out of 209 runners in a time of 21:38. Newcomer to the team, senior Captain Phylicia Hockman, ran a personal best time of 21:44 combining with Scott packing a Clarion 1-2 punch. Freshman Grace Adams coming back from an injury ran an unexpected and exhilarating time of 23:49 for the third Bobcat to cross the line. Fourth and fifth places for the Bobcats were the returning seniors Gabby Fleming and Co-Captain Katie Craig running 24:28 and 25:13 respectively. Freshman Aaliyah Dittman rounded out the Bobcats placement in 6th place in 27:09.
Junior Varsity Clarion Boys add to the depth of this magnificent team with strong finishes from Nate Datko (20:32), freshman Keagan Phillips (20:47), Alex Cussins (20:55), freshman Phillip Bartley (24:29), Sam Smith (25:05) and Daniel Griebel (28:42).
Clarion Area Junior High Girls performed well with 8 runners taking on the best in the area. 7th grade standout Gia Babington ran a blistering 6:29 pace to finish the junior high course in 10:22. Maya Wilshire, Taylor Alston, Lauren Lerch, Madilyn Baker, Abi Frederick, Mercedes Cunningham and Grace Troese rounded out the rest of the team. The Clarion junior high girls finished 17th out of 21 teams.
Junior High Boys didn’t have enough to score a team with only 4 runners. Seth Weckerly led the Bobcats with a course time of 11:28. Ryan Altman, Blaise Cunningham and Jack Franchino all did well in their first junior high invitational.
The Clarion teams face off against Karns City on Tuesday September 11 at Karns City.
(Thanks to Matt Lerch for this article and photo. Great Job, Cats!!!!)