Mercer County’s cross country contingent took stock of itself during the annual District 10 Championships in Buhl Farm Park, and this much was self-evident:
Years in the making, its collective stock is still soaring.
“ ... You’ve gotta have good stock to make good soup ...” mused West Middlesex mentor Bob Morris.
While Morris was referencing his Ms. Reds and Big Reds specifically, he could have served as spokesman for his county coaching counterparts.
On Saturday, Morris’ Ms. Reds and Grove City’s Eagles soared to the Class A and AA team titles, while Hickory and Wilmington girls’ ended as runners-up in AA and A, respectively.
Hickory’s Lexi Bible and Grove City’s Aaron Benka beat back blustery weather conditions and bested the AA field in 19:37 and 16:23.
Morris and the Ms. Reds will make their 7th appearance at next Saturday’s PIAA Championships at Hershey’s Park View Course, while Grove City secured its 4th consecutive crown (2 AAA; 2 AA) and 5th in 6 years.
“We had some goals set at the beginning of the year, and they did what we expected them to do,” Grove City coach Mike Sample assessed. “We talked a lot about how we wanted to come in here and kind’ve put the hammer down, leave no doubt of what we’re capable of.”
ä In Class A, West Middlesex mustered a 74-89 margin over Wilmington, while in AA Grove City gobbled up Gen. McLane, 35-93.
Bolstering Benka were Ryan Budnik (2nd, 16:47), Braydon Pyle (4th, 17:06), Ryan Whiteman (10th, 17:14) and Dillon McConnell (18th, 17:35).
West Middlesex was led by runner-up Chloé Tyillian, who was topped by Cambridge Springs’ Reilly Walsh, 19:37 to 19:44. Kristen White ended 8th (20:19), while Alyson Pierce (15th, 20:37), Sophia Kachulis (21st, 21:14) and Jordan Aubel (28th, 21:35) completed the Ms. Reds’ top 5.
ä In Class AA, Bible bested Villa Maria’s Claire Brown by 8 seconds, while Hickory’s Jackie Abraham annexed 3rd in 19:53; however, Villa Victors vaulted to the team title, 48-85.
“This is my kind of weather!” Bible related, explaining, “With the wind, I go behind my competitor and ... let them be my ‘shield’ from the wind. Once I knew my strong point (the 2nd ascension up Kite Hill), I just went and I was stronger every stride.
“Our team did amazing! We came into this race knowing that we went to states last year, but we just had the drive to go again this year. We really pushed together, we really ‘packed’ well,” Bible added.
Haley Boyd (13th, 20:39), Bailey Brown (21st, 21:05) and Kyra Hendrson (47th, 22:56) completed Hickory’s handful.
“We were looking to be aggressive, and they surely did run aggressively at the beginning,” said Hickory mentor Tony Mastrian. “We knew the strengths of Villa’s girls, individually, and Lexi and Jackie up front were able to hang with them, and then finally make a move on them on the second loop.
“Lexi and Jackie have been tops for us all year. And what a performance by Lexi, to be able to take the title!” Mastrian gushed.
ä Saegertown secured the boys’ AA championship, outdistancing Mercyhurst Prep, 83-110, though Prep’s Sebastian Curtin copped a 15:57 clocking for individual honors.
ä Wilmington was paced by Hannah Winters (13th, 20:27), Kate Robb (17th, 21:03), Hannah Drake (18th, 21:04), Lexi Brumbaugh (19th, 21:07) and Allison Baldwin (22nd, 21:15). Their collective pack time was 48 seconds.
“I’m so proud of them! This was a hard, hard, hard, hard race,” Lady Hounds’ head coach Mary Beth Acker assessed. “I’ll tell you what: West Middlesex is a great team; North East (3rd, just 2 points behind Wilmington) is a great team.
“My team’s a strong team, but nobody was gonna get this without a fight, and I am so proud of my kids ’cause they fought hard and I thought they raced very, very well and worked well as a team,” Acker added, emphasizing, “They weren’t going to be able to do this individually, but they worked well as a team.”
“District 10, we’ve always said, it’s kind’ve like the state meet, only it’s held here in Buhl Park,” Morris mused. “North East came down here to Middlesex and they came down here to Sharpsville (for regular-season invitationals), and they just looked invincible.
“We start in the middle of July and try to run our best races here,” Morris continued, citing each of his Ms. Reds’ efforts. “Actually, we just wanted to get to state; beating (North East), that was icing on the cake.
“The greatest compliment somebody can give you is, ‘I don’t like West Middlesex.’ Our girls get that sometimes, and I tell them, ‘That’s the greatest compliment anybody can pay you,’” Morris continued. “Yes, it gets tough, but you know what? They like it!
“We don’t talk a whole lot about it, but the last two or three days we started really prepping: ‘Hey, maybe we’ve got a shot at this thing; let’s go up there and give it our best,’” Morris related. “Those girls, all of them have really slight builds, but they all have great, big hearts, and you know, heart’s everything in this sport.”
ä In Class A, the top 2 girls’ and top 3 boys’ teams (plus the next 10 individuals who are not members of those teams) advance from District 10 to the PIAA Championships. In AA, it’s the top 2 girls’ and boys’ teams (plus the next 10 finishers not members of those teams.)
In addition to the aforementioned teams, several countians qualified as individuals, led by Nathan White.
A senior, White became Commodore Perry High’s first 3-time state cross country championships competitor. White was 11th Saturday in a time of 17:03. Two years ago White was 140th as a sophomore at state, but improved to 29th last year in Hershey, narrowing missing the medals stand (top 25).
One of White’s predecessors, his cousin Ben Furey, was a Commodore Perry cross country 2-time state qualifier.
“Unbelievable!” White said regarding his record-setting accomplishment. “I’ve walked home with district medals; now I want to walk home with one from state.
“I started off kind’ve slow (on Saturday), but then I figured the second lap is where everyone starts to drop off, but I couldn’t do that,” White related. “The second lap up (Kite Hill), I don’t know, I didn’t know how much I’d have left at the end ... but coming down the loop toward the finish, I couldn’t sprint any more. I was goin’ so fast, I didn’t have anything left.”
Also securing berths on the statewide stage were Greenville’s Dylan Foley, who stood 7th in 16:53 to emerge as the county’s top male single-A finisher, and West Middlesex’s David Johnson and Levi Canon, 17th and 20th, in respective times of 17:15 and 17:23. Morris said both will be making their 3rd trip to the PIAA Championships.
Sharpsville’s Maddie Przicina produced a 20:22 clocking to place 10th in A, while Wilmington’s Calvin Gealy garnered 6th in 17:10 and Hickory’s Logan Griffen got 16th in a time of 17:30.
DISTRICT 10 CHAMPIONSHIPS
(all results posted on RunHigh.com)
Team standings and key: West Middlesex (WM) 74; Wilmington (W) 89; North East (NE) 91; Cambridge Springs (Spa) 118; Union City (UC) 137; Youngsville (Y) 203; Seneca (Sen) 208; Fairview (F) 213; Sharpsville (Sv) 258; Commdore Perry (CP) 262; Maplewood (Mw); Iroquois (I) 274; Eisenhower (E) 309; Rocky Grove (RG) 349, Lakeview (L) 387; Reynolds (R) 440.
Individual results: 1. Reilly Walsh (Spa) 19:37; 2. Chloé Tyillian (WM)19:44; 3. Brooke Messinger (Y) 19:57; 4. Olivia Mamula (Spa) 19:58; 5. Kelsey Leasure (Sen) 20:00; 6. Maggie Prorok (RG) 20:05; 7. Kate McIntosh (NE) 20:06; 8. Kristen White (WM) 20:19; 9. Emma Verdonik (NE) 20:19; 10. Maddie Przicina (Sv) 20:22; 11. Alyssa Boyd (UC) 20:26; 12. Savannah Philips (Mw) 20:27; 13. Hannah Winters (W) 20:27; 14. Shae Grinnell (CP) 20:33; 15. Samantha Gollmer (Northwestern) 20:37; 16. Alyson Pierce (WM) 20:37; 17. Marissa Mountford (Sen) 20:37; 18. Kate Robb (W) 21:03; 19. Hannah Drake (W) 21:04; 20. Lexi Brumbaugh (W) 21:07; 21. Morgan Ramsey (NE) 21:10; 22. Sophia Kachulis (WM) 21:15; 23. Allison Baldwin (W) 21:15; 24. Caitlin Plazony (F) 21:18; 25. Eve Gardner (UC) 21:19.
Team standings and key: Villa Maria (VM) 48; Hickory (H) 85; Gen. McLane (GM) 101; Meadville (MASH) 120; Mercyhurst Prep (MP) 129; Grove City (GC) 163; Corry (Cor) 178; Greenville (Gv) 248; Oil City (OC) 275; Slippery Rock (SR) 284; Conneaut Area (CASH) 286; Sharon (Sh) 303; Franklin (F) 314; Warren (W) 357; Girard (Gir) 381.
Individual results: 1. Lexi Bible (H) 19:37; 2. Claire Brown (VM) 19:45; 3. Jackie Abraham (H) 19:53; 4. Taylor Pletz (MP) 20:14; 5. Brie Sutherland (Cor) 20:15; 6. Carlee Constable (VM) 20:19; 7. Catie Jaskowak (GC) 20:20; 8. Catie Cacchione (M) 20:21; 9. Morgan Price (GM) 20:22; 10. Savanna Carr (F) 20:32; 11. Brooke Phelps (CASH) 20:36; 12. Bernadette Prichard (VM) 20:37; 13. Haley Boyd (H) 20:39; 14. Meredith Prather (MASH) 20:44; 15. Tabitha Donaldson (SR) 20:48; 16. Gina Majczyk (MP) 20:49; 17. Victoria Evankovich (GM) 20:56; Paige Yoder (MASH) 20:59; 19. Maddie Thrasher (Gv) 21:00; 20. Alison Carson (VM) 21:02; 21. Bailey Brown (H) 21:05; 22. Kim Mulliken (GM) 21:08; 23. Abbey Peters (MASH) 21:10; 24. Grace Trucilla (VM) 21:11; 25. Olivia Messina (VM) 21:22.
Team standings and key: Saegertown (Sae) 83; Mercyhurst Prep (MP) 110; Seneca (Sen) 123; Maplewood (Mw) 142; North East (NE) 156; West Middlesex (WM) 158; Commodore Perry (CP) 185; Cochranton (Coch) 193; Fairview (F) 198; Cambridge Springs (Spa) 241; Union City (UC) 265; Greenville (Gv) 320; Eisenhower (E) 327; Rocky Grove (RG) 404; Jamestown (J) 413; Lakeview (Lv) 447; Reynolds (R) 517; Iroquois (I) 518; Youngsville (Y) 539.
Individual results: 1. Sebastian Curtin (MP) 15:57; 2. Jeremy Parsons (Mw) 16:19; 3. Jake Parsons (Mw) 16:31; 4. Hanz Wentz (Mw) 16:43; 5. Dan Wilcko (F) 16:51; 6. Nick Samsel (F) 16:52; 7. Dylan Foley (Gv) 16:53; 8. Phoenix Myers (Sen) 16:53; 9. Brendon Barclay (Sae) 16:59; 10. Devin VanGuilder (E) 17:02; 11. Nathan White (CP) 17:03; 12. Gary Olson (NE) 17:05; 13. Morgan Schenberg (Sae) 17:08; 14. Brad Amy (Sae) 17:13; 15. Paris Enterline (Sen) 17:13; 16. Connor Walsh (Spa) 17:15; 17. David Johnson (WM) 17:15; 18. Matt Schenberg (Sae) 17:21; 19. Logan Herzberger (Coch) 17:23; 20. Levi Canon (WM) 17:23; 21. Donovan Myers (Sen) 17:24; 22. Nathan Kline (Coch) 17:25; 23. Sean Patrick Brady (MP) 17:32; 24. Noah Curtin (MP) 17:37; 25. Daniel Gardner (UC) 17:39.
Team standings and key: Grove City (GC) 35; Gen. McLane (GM) 93; Hickory (H) 141; Wilmington (W) 151; Meadville (MASH) 172; Oil City (OC) 174; Fort LeBoeuf (FL) 175; Warren (W) 186; Slippery Rock (SR) 249; Franklin (F) 259; Harbor Creek (HC) 261; Titusville (T) 282; Northwestern (Nw) 310; Sharon (Sh) 372; Conneaut Area (CASH) 374.
Individual results: 1. Aaron Benka (GC) 16:23; 2. Ryan Budnik (GC) 16:47; 3. Andrew Maxwell (SR) 16:57; 4. Braydon Pyle (GC) 17:06; 5. Lukas Hallett (GM) 17:10; 6. Calvin Gealy (W) 17:10; 7. Austin King (OC) 17:11; 8. Kyle Rose (MASH) 17:12; 9. Matt Svetz (MASH) 17:13; 10. Ryan Whiteman (GC) 17:14; 11. Christian Ladabu (CASH) 17:18; 12. Jake Lehotsky (FL) 17:19; 13. John Danvers (F) 17:21; 14. Grant Shields (GM) 17:24; 15. Matthew Wheeler (Nw) 17:27; 16. Logan Griffen (H) 17:30; 17. Kyle Boyd (H) 17:31; 18. Dillon McConnell (GC) 17:35; 19. Blake Ristau (W) 17:36; 20. Jared Masters (W) 17:45; 21. Ian Parker (GM) 17:46; 22. Ryan Goff (GM) 17:47; 23. Jordan Powell (GC) 17:51; 24. Louis McUmber (MASH) 18:00; 25. John Paul Depew (GC) 18:06.
Mercer County’s cross country contingent took stock of itself during the annual District 10 Championships in Buhl Farm Park, and this much was self-evident:
Breese defends heavyweight title at PIAA Championships
HERSHEY, Pa. — Move over Rod Wright!
Lakeview senior heavyweight star Sam Breese had a goal coming into the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships this weekend at Hershey Giant Center — besides winning a second state crown, that is.
WM knocks off Neshannock in PIAA playoffs
SLIPPERY ROCK — The notion of Trey Staunch sneaking up on opposing teams is laughable. At 6-foot-3 and approximately 225 pounds, the stout Staunch is not sneaking up on anyone.
However after posting a game-high 31-point, 18-rebound performance in West Middlesex High basketball team’s 76-66 PIAA Class AA playoffs opening-round win over Neshannock Saturday night, Staunch said opponents may have been overlooking the Big Reds.
Hickory girls 26-0, oust Johnstown
SLIPPERY ROCK — At Morrow Field House Saturday evening, the Hickory Lady Hornets kept the perfect season alive with a 63-37 state playoff first round win over the Greater Johnstown Trojans from District 6.
“It feels great to get the win (Saturday),” said veterans Hickory coach Jeanette Whitehead. “We’ve been at this place over the last few years and we’ve been sent home in the first round so it was a huge win for us. I’m very proud of our team effort."
KC girls roll past California in PIAA playoffs
SLIPPERY ROCK — Kennedy Catholic High girls’ basketball team was in the ’hood Saturday afternoon.
Led by senior Taylor Hood, the Lady Golden Eagles eased past California, 53-34, in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
Lakeview's Breese to defend PIAA title
HERSHEY, Pa. — If you are Major League Baseball player, a .333 batting average is great. But in wrestling at the state tournament — not so much!
Out of the dozen wrestlers that Mercer County sent to Hershey for the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships, only four (.333) will reach the medal stand today — led by Lakeview senior Sam Breese who shoots for a second straight gold medal.
Farrell edges Montour, 60-57, in PIAA opener
Montour High boys’ basketball coach Adam Kaufman lamented another season-ending setback. However there are several hundred coaches across the Commonwealth who envy his program’s recent success and would trade places with him in a heartbeat.
But during Friday night’s PIAA Class AAA playoff opener, Kaufman & Co. could not overcome those streaky Steelers ... those survivin’ Steelers.
“ ... Hey, survive and move on,” summarized Steelers’ skipper Roland Shannonhouse following Farrell’s 60-57 win at Sharon High.
GCC ousts Mercer in 1st round of PIAAs
The Mercer Lady Mustangs were outscored 16-4 in the final quarter of the first round of the state playoffs by the Greensburg Central Catholic Centurions, ending their season Friday night 56-31 at Sharon High School.
Senior Lexie Arkwright had a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double performance for the Lady M’s. She also snagged three steals. Adelyn Cook and Haylie Glass each added 4 points for Mercer.
5 area matmen to quarterfinals in Hershey
HERSHEY — Mercer County matmen had mixed results on the opening day of action in the PIAA State Class AA Wrestling Championships at the Giant Center.
Only 5 of the county’s dozen entries — led by defending state champ Sam Breese of Lakeview (285) — won their preliminary matches to move into the tournament quarterfinals which begin at 9 a.m. today. However the other 7 lost their first matches, although 3 are still alive in the consolations heading into this morning’s action.
Coach Chad Mild's Big Reds are road warriors
West Middlesex High boys basketball team did not play its first home game until after the first of the year, but competing at New Castle, Farrell and Youngstown’s Covelli Centre has served it well.
Witness West Middlesex’s 55-54 win over Fairview in last weekend’s District 10 Class AA championship game — at Edinboro University’s McComb Field House.
Boys PIAA basketball preview boxes
Who: Farrell (22-3) vs. Montour (16-8).
What: Opening round.
When: 7:30 p.m. today.
Where: Sharon High’s Tiger Gymnasium.
Hickory, Mercer, KC girls PIAA playoff boxes
Who: Hickory (25-0) vs. Greater Johnstown (11-14).
What: PIAA Playoffs, 1st round.
When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Slippery Rock University.
Shannonhouse's Steelers set for statewide stage
With the approaching spring, a young man’s fancy turns to ... what else? The PIAA playoffs. And when Shenango Valley scholastic basketball aficionados think of the postseason they think of Farrell.
Recently at E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium, the banners above were blowing in the breeze — ’52 ... ’54 ... ’56 ... ’59 ... ’60 ... ’69 ... ’72 — swaying as sprinting players created a vacuum of air rising from the floor. Melodramatic maybe, but there’s a feeling at Farrell that harkens back to the heyday when playoff success was a rite of passage.
Breese eyes repeat at state mat tourney
There is no doubt that winning a state championship in wrestling is a difficult thing to do. Winning two is even tougher.
“There’s a target on your chest,” pointed out Lakeview High coach Tom Tingley in preseason this year, referring to his star wrestler Sam Breese who won a state heavyweight crown as a junior last year.
Obviously that target hasn’t bothered the Sailors big man who is a perfect 32-0 this season as he attempts to become only the 12th Mercer County matman to win multiple titles.
WRESTLING NOTEBOOK: It's a young group of county matmen headed to state
THERE’S definitely a youth movement in Mercer County wrestling as demonstrated by the group of 11 matmen who are advancing to the PIAA State Class AA Championships on Thursday.
Eight of the locals are underclassmen. The only seniors are Lakeview’s Sam Breese (285), Reynolds’ Levi Stoyer (145) and Jamestown’s Mohamed Messai (182).
Breese and Stoyer are the only returning state place-winners. Breese, who has verbally committed to Kent State University to wrestle next season, won the heavyweight class and is seeking a second gold medal. Stoyer placed 7th at 145 and wants to climb much higher on the medals stand.
Kennedy boys forfeit win, are out of playoffs
The PIAA basketball playoffs do not begin until Friday, but Mercer County already lost a team.
Kennedy Catholic High disclosed Monday the discovery of an academically-ineligible player, who competed in last Friday’s District 10 Class A consolation contest.
Kennedy Catholic edged Eisenhower in double-OT, 66-62, earning a berth in the statewide tournament. The Golden Eagles were to meet District 9 champion Ridgway Friday at Clarion University’s Tippin Gymnasium in the opening round; instead, Eisenhower will represent D-10 as its 3rd-place team.
- More Sports Headlines
- Breese defends heavyweight title at PIAA Championships