Clarion HS XC Teams Compete at PIAA Foundation Meet in Hershey
HERSHEY, Pa. – The Clarion Area Bobcats varsity boys’ and girls’ 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 21.
(Bella Scott of Clarion. Photo by Matt Lerch)
The boys’ 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.
There were 23 Class 1A 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.
Those performances were enough to propel the Bobcats to an eighth-place finish amongst the 24 teams. While not quite as good as last year’s performance by the Clarion boys who finished fifth among 27 teams in 2018, the team is still clawing back from losing three 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 XC Invitational with five runners making the journey from Clarion.
The Bobcat girls were led by sophomore Bella Scott finishing in 22:35 over the 5,000-meter journey. Fellow sophomore Grace Adams finished in 25:39 and sophomore Aaliyah Dittman followed in 27:41. Rounding out the top five 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 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.
Story by Matt Lerch
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