Clarion Area Bobcats Shine at Ridgway Invitational (10/12/19)
(Article and photo by Matt Lerch)
The Clarion Area Bobcats travelled to Ridgway on Saturday to compete in the annual Ridgway Invitational, a precursory look into the District 9 Championships to be held on October 26th. A mixture of 17 Triple-A schools through Single-A schools competed along with a string of private schools, on the sunny yet chilly, 40 degree morning.
Compared to previous years, most of the times were faster with several personal records being broken for the Bobcats. As the runners arrived at the school, the harsh realities of the 2018 District 9 Championship weighed heavily on their minds when it was raining and 37 degrees in a muddy miserable downpour.
This day was an abridged version of that Championship day and the Bobcats were ready to pounce. The Clarion boys came in seventh out of 17 teams, ahead of perennial formidable competitors Smethport and Kane. However finishing ahead of the Bobcat boys were Cranberry and Elk County Catholic, one of which they will need to beat in the District Championship in a couple of weeks in order to take a team to States.
Nathaniel Lerch didn’t beat his personal record of 16:38 achieved earlier this year, but turned in a time of 17:06 for a fourth place finish. Sophomore Gavin Hoover set a new personal record of 18:07, smashing his old PR of 18:33. Don Cunningham followed Hoover in 18:40, finishing in third place for the Bobcats. Nick Frederick came in fourth place for the Bobcats in 18:50 and Nate Datko closed out the scoring places in fifth place with a time of 19:22. Bobcats Keagan Phillips and Alex Cussins closed out Clarion’s runners in sixth and seventh place running 19:39 and 21:10 respectively.
The Bobcat girls finished twelfth out of 14 teams against tremendous competition. Sophomore Bella Scott turned in a time of 23:09, coming in first for the Bobcats. Grace Adams ran a 26:18 for second place on the squad and Aaliyah Dittman turned in a time of 27:01 for third place. Abi Frederick bolstered the Bobcat girls running a personal record of 29:08 for fourth place and Allie Stivanson ran a 29:46 to close out the Lady Cats top scoring five. Grace Troese was the sixth runner for Clarion, finishing in a personal record time of 35:09.
The Clarion Bobcats run next at the meet they host, the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference Championship to be held at the Clarion County Park on October 17th.
(Thanks to Matt Lerch for this article and photo. Good work Cats!!!!)