STONEBORO — Bible was the gospel truth Saturday morning in Stoneboro.
Hickory High sophomore Lexi Bible bested the field with a 20:22 clocking, defending her individual crown while leading the Lady Hornets to the Mercer County Cross Country Invitational crown.
The annual event — encompassing Regions 1 and 2 and hosted this year by Lakeview High — serves as the final prelude to the annual state qualifier, the District 10 Championships.
Hickory harvested 48 points to outdistance Wilmington (55), though the runnerup Lady Greyhounds’ 56-second pack time (Lexi Brumbaugh, Allison Baldwin, Hannah Drake, Rikki Brumbaugh and Hannah Winters) was considerably tighter than Hickory’s.
Greenville’s Dylan Foley flew to a 22-second victory over Slippery Rock’s Andrew Maxwell in the boys’ race; however, Commodore Perry prevailed over Hickory for the title, 50-90.
“Our men really pulled together, and they ran extremely well (Satur)day,” summarized 9th-year Commodore Perry Coach David Snyder. “These are the kind of conditions they love: Fast course, great day to run. Nothing better than cross country in the wind and cold.
“They’ve really just pulled together, so much more so than they have in past years, and I’m just so proud of all the men,” Snyder added.
Though defending champion Nathan White finished 4th, Perry placed 5 runners in the top 15, including Chad Peterson, Cody Schreiber, Paul Jewell and Eric Johnston — 8th, 10th, 13th, 15th, respectively. Their pack time was approximately 49 seconds.
“All seven of our runners were in the top thirty-five ... pretty impressive,” Snyder said.
A year ago as a freshman Bible burst on the scene and paced Hickory’s 1-2-3 finish. On Saturday, Bible belied any pressure she may have felt as defending medalist as she was in control from the outset. Bible, Jackie Abraham, Haley Boyd and Bailey and Paige Brown clocked in approximately 3:38 apart.
“I really pushed, stride by stride, all the way, and it got me to first,” Bible began, admitting, “There was a little bit of of pressure. I knew throughout the race where my competition was, but I wanted to keep my (caliber of) running going from my freshman to my sophomore year, so I ran and just focused ...
“I know my competition, and we’re always pushing each other and focusing on each other, pushing each other throughout the race. So it’s just good competition,” added Bible, who bested Sharpsville’s Maddie Przicina by 28 ticks. Abraham annexed 3rd and Boyd 5th.
“She had a good start, and at this time of year it’s very important to get out and go,” assessed veteran mentor Tony Mastrian. “The middle of this course is, pretty much, uphill, so that was a real focus area on the course. She was able to do that and she accelerated on the downhill, the last part.
“She ran a very strategic race and a very solid race, and that’s good to see at this time of year,” Mastrian added. “You could see her at the starting line that her mind was very focused for an aggressive race, and she was ready to go.”
Foley finished 71st in last year’s PIAA Championships, but sent a message to the remainder of his county counterparts. He assumed the lead on the 2nd mile and never relinquished it, outkicking Maxwell, Wilmington’s Calvin Gealy and White by approximately 22, 25 and 32 seconds, respectively. White was 29th at last fall’s state championships, Snyder said.
“I just tried to pace with them — not that I wanted to go out that fast — but just tried to pace with (the leaders). When I got to the loop, I just tried to pick up the pace and tried to keep at that pace and make a strong finish, too,” Foley related.
“Grove City didn’t run their varsity ... but the competition was really tough ‘cause some of these guys have hit ‘sixteens’ (minutes), too, and I didn’t know if I’d get there But I got ’em,” added Foley, who trailed Maxwell as the mile mark, 5:24 to 5:27 (as well as Gealy and White).
Hickory has its sights set on qualifying for the PIAA Class AA Championships, but only 2 spots out of D-10 advance, and Villa Maria and Gen. McLane loom as Lady Hornets’ hurdles, as well as neighboring rival Grove City.
“We have a good chance ... I’m very excited!” Bible added.
“They do push each other,” Mastrian said of his Lady Hornets — all of whom, with the exception of Bailey Brown, are underclassmen. “They’re a very close group.
“We know the importance ... in cross country, it’s not just your first or second (placewinner); it’s all the girls working together. So we’re still trying to get our fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh girls up closer to the top three, and they realize it and they work very hard together,” Mastrian added.
“With the district (championship) coming up, some people tend to not run in this race,” Mastrian said regarding Saturday’s tune-up. “But we think it’s important to give it a really good push, focus, and get the girls in a good race mentality for next week, ’cause we realize next week is the most important race to get you to the state level.”
Last year White went from Region 1-2 titlist to 29th at the state championships. In so doing, he may have put Perry on the PIAA cross country radar.
“I think so,” Snyder asserted. “(White) just really brought it hard, and he’s still improving, and everyone else is improving. I think there was pressure (on White), but more from his own internal drive to do well and to perform just like he has in the past.
“But we know he’ll make us proud, and (the Panthers) do everything they can to do the right thing,” Snyder continued, noting, “The guys in front of him are super-fast and also in AA, as well. As far as single-A, he was the top single-A finisher.”
Note: As he has in the past, Mark Courtney of RunHigh.com provided timing and race results. ... Lakeview Coach Glenn Dosch and assistant Deanna Maxwell coordinated the day’s slate. Dosch said he arrived at the school’s campus at 5:34 a.m. ... Former Lakeview coaches Jack Cress and Greg Slatcoff assisted at the finish line. Along the 3.1-mile course there are two key points: The Faulcon Bridge (named for former coach Lee Faulconbridge) and Cress’ Corner bridge. ... Saturday’s District 10 Championships will take place in Buhl Farm Park.
STONEBORO — Bible was the gospel truth Saturday morning in Stoneboro.
Roundup: Wilmington track teams sweep WM
ä Wilmington 98, West Middlesex 51 — At West Middlesex, the visiting Greyhounds gave the Big Reds their first home, dual-meet loss in approximately 4 seasons according to Middlesex mentor Ed Pikna.
Cooper (400, 800, distance- and mile-relay legs), jumper Perrine and sprinter Scott (100, 200) gave the Greyhounds the giddy-up by winning multiple events.
HIGH SCHOOL SPRING SPORTS ROUNDUP
Baseball, softball and tennis teams were in action Monday as the nice weather allowed for high school spring sports action that has been limited so far by rain, snow and windy conditions.
Players relent, agree to play for reinstated football coach
Minnesota State University-Mankato's football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
Hickory track coaches near finish line
While the Shenango Valley lionizes legendary gridiron greats and hardwood heroes, the sport of track & field at Hickory High has resonated its relevance throughout District 10 and commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
For the better part of the last 3 decades that was due, to a great extent, to the efforts of Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak.
More than 200 dual-meet victories combined between the girls’ and boys’ programs, 9 district championships (7 girls, 2 boys), 2 statewide runners-up berths and another pair of 3rd-place finishes, culminating in the Lady Hornets’ 2012 PIAA Class AA championship.
Their collective resumé would be envied by any coach, regardless of sport. Which makes this recent revelation regrettable: Dzuricsko and Slezak simultaneously will step down at this season’s conclusion.
SPORTVIEW: Cavaliers are example of how an owner impacts a team
WHEN LEBRON James vacated Cleveland for South Beach a few years ago, angry Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert declared that the Cavaliers would win an NBA championship before James and the Miami Heat.
How’s that working out, Dan?
Miami is seeking a third straight title this postseason while the Cavaliers are headed for the golf courses. Pretty sad.
Roundup: Trojans, Hounds win team titles at WM Invitational
Wilmington High girls and Greenville boys dominated the annual Big Red Track & Field Invitational Thursday afternoon in West Middlesex.
A half-dozen girls’ and 7 boys’ teams competed.
Wilmington overwhelmed the female field, as the Lady Greyhounds garnered almost twice as many points as runner-up Lakeview (236-5 to 133.5).
Roundup: WM diamondmen edge Reynolds, 6-4
ä West Middlesex 6, Reynolds 4 — At Transfer, the Big Reds snapped a 4-all tie by plating a run in the 4th inning and another in the 7th in a 2-run win over the Raiders.
Mark Colella earned the mound win in a relief appearance for WM. No pitching stats were submitted.
Roundup: Hickory, Wilmington softball teams win
Paced by Chelsea Marriott’s muscle, Hickory High hammered 4 home runs Saturday afternoon en route to a 19-1 rout of Sharon.
At Wengler, Marriott mauled 2- and 3-run round-trippers to right-center and straightaway center field, respectively. Her Lady Hornets’ teammates Hannah Gallagher and Morgan McBride mustered 3-run bombs, also.
Fired coach in Mankato unjustly accused of visiting porn sites
Minnesota State University-Mankato officials wrongly accused former football coach Todd Hoffner of viewing pornography sites on his work computer before firing him last May, a state arbitrator has disclosed.
Roundup: Hickory track coaches to step down following season
Hickory High track & field co-head coaches Barb Dzuricsko and Mark Slezak announced they will step down at the season’s conclusion.
Dzuricsko and Slezak, who led the Lady Hornets to the 2012 PIAA Class AA crown, jointly made the announcement via e-mail late Wednesday.
Roundup: Devil diamondmen roll past Sharon
An old-school baseball bromide states that, early in any season, pitching is always ahead of hitting. However Sharpsville shunned that axiom Wednesday afternoon.
The Blue Devils banged 15 hits, and Sharpsville short-circuited Sharon, 16-4, in 5 innings.
Roundup: Hounds, Hornets notch track sweeps
ä Wilmington 116, Reynolds 44 — At New Wilmington, the host Lady Hounds were led by Rikki Brumbaugh (4x8, 4x4 relay legs, 400- and 800-meter runs); Hannah Drake (long, triple jumps, 4x4 relay); Allison Baldwin (4x8 and 4x4 relay legs); Lexi Brumbaugh (1600-, 3200-meter runs, distance-relay leg), and Tessa Sikora (high jump, 200-meter dash, sprint-relay anchor).
SPORTVIEW: Pirates, Indians fans looking for big things this year
LIFE IS GOOD if you are a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Cleveland Indians. At least for now!
Heading into Saturday, both teams were 3-1 and looking pretty sharp. Since both made the playoffs last year, there are high expectations for both clubs. But in baseball, every year is a new season and there are no guarantees.
Still, it’s always nice when your favorite teams get off to a good start. In too many seasons, Pittsburgh and Cleveland fans were only talking about the NFL draft because hopes were bleak for their baseball teams.
Hickory's Arbanas 1st team All-State; KC's Hood 3rd team
ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Teams from the WPIAL won three of the four PIAA girls basketball championships this year, and southwestern Pennsylvania is turning out to be just as dominant when it comes to postseason honors.
Pittsburgh-area programs produced seven of the eight major award winners on this season’s Sports Writers Pennsylvania High School Girls Basketball All-State Team, including all four players of the year.
WM's Staunch named 2nd team All-State
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Finishing on the winning side in a championship game — or coming mighty, mighty close — scored plenty of points with the panel that selected Pennsylvania’s all-state boys’ basketball team.
Especially when it came time to choose those — whether players or coaches — who claimed the top individual awards.
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- Roundup: Wilmington track teams sweep WM