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Clarion High Boys’ XC Team Completes Successful Season

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 @ 12:11 AM

Posted by Matt Lerch

Clarion High XC at PIAAs 2019HERSHEY, Pa. – The Clarion High School boys’ cross country team completed a successful season over the weekend at the PIAA cross country championships in Hershey.

The Bobcats finished 16th in the team standings, and it marked the second time in the last three years Clarion has qualified for the championships as a team having also done so in 2017 when it finished second in District 9 Class 1A.

It was another second-place finish in D9 this year, with the Bobcats coming in second to Cranberry a couple of weeks ago at the District 9 meet. They edged Elk County Catholic to earn the team state berth.

The success in 2019 came as a bit of a surprise considering Clarion had question marks coming into the season having as the 2018 boys team graduated core runners Nick and Noah Schill, Daniel Ketner and Jacob Smith.

But led by two-time KSAC champion and four-time PIAA qualifier Nathaniel Lerch, who won the District 9 title this season, Clarion was once again good.

Sophomore Gavin Hoover soundly made his place on the team in second place for the Bobcats for most of the season.

The pack consisting of sophomore Keagan Phillips, Junior Don Cunningham, Senior Nick Frederick and senior Nate Datko was very tight in scoring all season long.

Senior Alex Cussins and sophomores Philip Bartley and Milton McElravy provided depth on the squad. Junior Daniel Griebel also helped the Bobcats through the season.

What magic elixir kept this Bobcat team of harriers resilient year after year?

Head Coach Keith Murtha, assistant Coach Tammy Lerch and assistant Coach Bill Grove is the correct answer.

Coaching style is used in conjunction with bringing in motivational speakers, former Clarion athletes, nutrition experts and many other facets to compliment their style of coaching.

This year also marked a new bridge between athlete and Clarion Bobcat alumni support.

Clarion alumnus Angela Zaeske Rudy spearheaded a fundraiser to outfit the Bobcats with embroidered North Face warmups. She was able to raise the money in a matter of a week with a tremendous push to have them ready by the
District 9 Championships. Thanks to generous donations from Clarion alumni, the Bobcat boys’ and girls’ teams will be kept warm with these windproof warmups.

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