Clarion, Cranberry Boys’ and Girls’ XC in Dead Heat for KSAC Titles Thursday
FRILLS CORNERS, Pa. (D9Sports) – The KSAC Cross Country Championships kick off at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, with the girls’ championship followed at 4:45 p.m. by the boys’ championship with both races at North Clarion.
(Photo: The Clarion boys’ and girls’ cross country teams will contend for KSAC Titles Thursday. Photo by Matt Lerch)
CRANBERRY, CLARION NECK-AND-NECK IN GIRLS’ RACE
Cranberry and Clarion are neck-and-neck in the girls’ race based on pre-race seedings with the Berries holding a slight 37-38 edge over the Lady Cats despite Clarion having three of the four fastest times entering the championship.
Sophomore Kalynne Ziegler leads the way Cranberry as the No. 2 seeded runners in a season-best time of 20:58.6.
Ziegler breaks up a top three sweep for Clarion, which is led by freshman Evelyn Lerch, the top runner in the KSAC during the regular season with a time of 20:32.0. Fellow freshman Bella Scott has the third-best time in the KSAC this year for the Lady Cats with a run of 21:38.2 with senior Phylicia Hockman turning in the fourth-best time in the conference at 21:44.4.
But after the Top Four, you have to go all the way to 14th to find the next highest ranked Lady Cat runner in freshman Grace Adams (23:49.4). Senior Katie Craig (24:01.0) then checks in at 16th.
Cranberry, meanwhile, places three additional runners in the Top 10 with senior Lauren Varsek seeded sixth in a time of 22:24.0, senior Samantha Woolcock eighth in a time of 23:09.4 and junior Miranda Beichner ninth in a time of 23:10.2. The Berries fifth runner is senior Carley Schreck, who is seeded 12th in a time of 23:35.8 just ahead of fellow senior Gabby Altman, whose time of 23:39.9 is good for 13th.
Additional runners to watch for include North Clarion sophomore Rachel Bauer, who is seeded fifth in a time of 22:05.22, Moniteau freshman Hannah Burgoon, who is seeded seventh in a time of 22:45.0, Karns City freshman Sara Weiland, who is seeded 10th in a time of 23:11.22 and A-C Valley senior Abigail Barris, who is seeded 11th in a time of 23:26.0.
BOYS’ RACE A DEAD HEAT BETWEEN CLARION, CRANBERRY
In the boys’ race, it is a seeded dead heat with Clarion and Cranberry both seeded with 32 points. In case of a tie, the sixth runner would break the tie. Cranberry would seem to have the edge there with the Berries having the next three seeded runners after each team’s top five which would give Cranberry the edge for the title.
Clarion has the top runner in the conference in junior Nathaniel Lerch having put in a top time of 17:01.29.
Cranberry delivers the next two seeded runners in freshman Matt Woolcock (17:20.00) and junior Daniel Fisher (17:36.91).
It’s then the Bobcats turn to have the fifth and sixth runners with sophomore Don Cunningham (18:08.62) and senior Nick Schill (18:09.24).
Cranberry answers with the senior Hunter O’Neil ranked seventh in a time of 18:24.89 and junior Logan Johnson ranked eighth in a time of 18:39.00.
Clarion’s Noah Schill (9th; 18:45.00), a senior, and Daniel Ketner (11th; 18:52.52), also a senior, round out the Top Five runners for the Bobcats, while junior Joey Fox (12th, 18:57.53) rounds out the Top Five for the Berries.
If all the seeds hold serve, Cranberry’s edge could be its depth. The Berries also have the 13th (Christian Miller), 14th (River Perry) and 15th (Avery Keenan) runners before Clarion’s next runner (Gavin Hoover) checks in at 16th, a full 40 seconds behind Miller.
But the race could also be decided on how the non-Clarion/Cranberry runners in the Top 10 perform.
The two who have the best chance at unseating a placing for the Bobcats or Berries are North Clarion junior Jacob Bauer, who enters seeded fourth in a time of 17:50.66 and Keystone sophomore Conrad Lloyd, who comes in seeded 10th in a time of 18:50.00.
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