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Nathaniel Lerch’s 10th Place Leads Bobcat Boys To 8th, In 24 Team Field, At 13th Annual PIAA Foundation Cross Country Invitational, Girls Contingent Also Competes (09/23/19)

(Photo by Matt Lerch) Bella Scott competing at PIAA Foundation Invitational at Hershey

The Clarion Area Bobcats Varsity Boys cross country team traveled to the Hershey State Championship Course to compete against the elite teams in the state of Pennsylvania at the PIAA Foundation Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, September 21st.  The team has been successful in local KSAC races, but needed a good measure with their eyes on another State qualifying team, last achieved in 2017. 

The race began at 11:30, under pure sun and a temperature of 85 degrees at race time.  There were twenty-three single A teams from across the state competing against the Bobcats.  Team Captain and senior Nathaniel Lerch ran a time of 17:17 on the newly redesigned course from States last year, placing 10th in a field of 181 runners.  Rising star runner, sophomore Gavin Hoover crossed the line in 18:54 with senior Nick Frederick following not far behind in 19:17. 

The final two scorers for the top five Bobcat runners for the day were junior Don Cunningham who ran a 19:51 and senior Nate Datko finishing with a time of 20:13.  Rounding out the Bobcats’ boys harriers were sophomore Keagan Phillips running in 20:21 and senior Alex Cussins in 23:13. 

These performances were enough to propel the Bobcats to an 8th place finish amongst the twenty-four teams.  While not quite as good as last year’s performance by the Clarion boys who finished 5th amongst twenty-seven teams in 2018, the team is still clawing back from losing 3 seniors to graduation.  If anything, their performance Saturday is a model of consistency and fortitude. 

The Bobcat Girls Varsity also ran in the PIAA Foundation Cross Country Invitational with five runners making the journey from Clarion. 

The Bobcat Girls were led by sophomore Bella Scott who finished in 22:35 over the 5000 meter journey.  Fellow sophomore Grace Adams finished in 25:39 and sophomore Aaliyah Dittman followed in 27:41.  Rounding out the top 5 scoring runners for the Clarion girls were junior Allie Stivanson running 29:42 and sophomore Abi Frederick in 30:28.  Freshman Grace Troese finished the line in 35:57. 

    The Bobcats return to action on Tuesday (September 24th) to host AC Valley and Union in a tri-meet at Clarion County Park.  Thursday the Bobcats travel to Karns City for a dual meet.

(Thanks to Matt Lerch for this article and photo. Congratulations on a great meet, Cats!!!!)