Lerch leads Bobcats Boys Cross Country to 7th place finish out of 27 A through AAA teams at Bear Mountain River Run Invitational in Lock Haven (09/02/19)
(Article and photos courtesy of Clarion Area Cross Country)
The Clarion Area high School Bobcats may be a single A school but the Bobcats showed the state of Pennsylvania that hard work in the off season can place the small schools in contention for state dominance. Led by senior team captain and returning Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference Champion Nathaniel Lerch with a 12th place finish of 16:38 on the 3.1 mile course. With this performance, Lerch earned a Pennsylvania Elite Status and is 8 seconds from earning Nationally Elite Status!
The Bobcats had a great showing. The Bobcat boys finished seventh out of twenty-two competing teams, reaching as far as Maryland and West Virginia and led all District Nine teams including Bradford, Coudersport and DuBois Central Catholic.
The strength of the team comes from the pack runners with their times all within about a minute. Sophomore Kaegan Phillips shattered his personal best time running 18 minutes flat. Returning starter junior Don Cunningham burned a time of 18:19 only 8 seconds off of his personal best and new Bobcat Cross Country runner, senior Nick Frederick followed Cunningham in 18:20. The fifth Bobcat to finish was up and coming sophomore Gavin Hoover finishing in 18:41, with senior Nate Datko right behind Hoover running a time of 19:02 taking a full minute off of his personal best. Alex Cussins rounded out the varsity runners coming in at 21:30.
The Clarion Bobcat girls were led by returning sophomore Bella Scott who finished in a time of 21:16, just off of her personal best time from last year. Sophomore Grace Adams came in second for the Bobcats in a time of 24:37 and sophomore Grace Schmader finished with a time of 27:53. The Bobcats girls team also had another sophomore Abi Frederick run a time of 31:10 and freshman Grace Troese crossed the line in 36:34.
The Bobcats recent success is piggybacking off of years of growth and hard work. In 2018 the Bobcat girls were so successful they placed second at the District Nine Championships, earning a berth to the PIAA State Championships for the first time in Clarion’s history. In 2017, the Bobcat boys earned a second place finish at District Nine Championships as well, earning a box on the State Championship starting line. It is early in the season and this team has many possibilities.
The Bobcats return to action when they open their first KSAC league meet Wednesday at Clarion-Limestone with North Clarion. The Junior High start is at 4:00PM, Varsity to follow at approximately 4:30PM. The tri-meet is sure to feature some fast times and competition with some of the best talent the KSAC has to offer early in the season!
(Thanks to Clarion Cross Country for the article and photos. Super Meet, Cats!!!!)