RIDGWAY – The St. Marys Area boys' cross country team used a strong showing on Saturday at the 2011 D9 Cross Country Championship at the Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School in Ridgway to take home the team's first AAA boys' District team title in 30 years. The girls' squad also posted good results for the day, finishing fourth overall out of 12 teams in the girls' AA race.
The runners faced snowy and muddy track conditions for this year's event, but many seemed undeterred by the weather.
"The weather was great for us," said SMA coach Stan Foster. "I don't really have a problem with the weather, it was the same for everybody."
In the boys' AAA race, the St. Marys Area team finished first overall with a score of 43. Second was Punxsutawney Area with 52, followed by Bradford Area 61, DuBois Area 75, and Clearfield Area 123.
"[They're a] great team," Foster said of the SMA boys' squad. "I have to really hand it to Dylan Shields and Austin Frey. They were our contributors that made the difference today, but everybody put in [a good effort]."
Finishing in first place was Bradford Area's Aziz Yousif in a time of 17:48. He was followed by St. Marys Area's Gideon Woelfel, who was second in 18:38. Third was Punxsutawney Area's Dane Baker in 18:42, while St. Marys Area's Alec Foster was fourth in 18:48. Rounding out the top five was Punxsutawney Area's Bo Dinger in 18:53. DuBois Area runners Tyler Cashmer and Micah Cantaral were sixth and seventh with times of 18:57 and 18:58, respectively. Eighth was St. Marys Area's Dylan Shields in 19:17, ninth was Punxsutawney Area's Nathan Ward in 19:20, and rounding out the top 10 was St. Marys Area's Austin Frey in 19:33.
Also for St. Marys Area, Konstantin Deyev was 19th in 21:12, Nathan McFadden was 20th in 21:16, and Mitchell O'Vell was 31st in 22:58.
In addition to the SMA squad, other runners who qualified for the State meet are Yousif, Baker, Dinger, Cashmer and Cantaral.
In the girls' AA race, Elk County Catholic finished in first with a team score of 65. Northern Potter was second with 69, followed by Cranberry 94, St. Marys Area 114, Smethport Area 120, Brockway Area 184, Clarion Area 189, Clarion Limestone 196, Coudersport 208, Moniteau 240, Brookville Area 247, and Allegheny Clarion Valley 289.
Finishing first in the event was Elk Catholic's Kennedy Weisner in a time of 19:39. St. Marys Area's Adair Gennocro was second in 20:17. The two runners were neck-and-neck for much of the race, with Weisner only pulling away toward the end.
""I think that's a pleasure for the whole spectator field because when do you get to see the best in the state run against each other that often?" Foster said.
Third was Cranberry's Mckenna Spence in 21:00. Fourth was Northern Potter's Morgan Soule in 21:20, fifth was Kane Area's Taylor Beimel in 21:27, and sixth was Oswayo Valley's Bailey Kemp in 21:42. ECC's Maggie Sorg was seventh in 21:51. Finishing eighth was Brookville Area's Katie Zents in 22:00. Ninth was Jill Wallace of North Clarion in 22:10, and rounding out the top 10 was Northern Potter's Erin Perry in 22:13.
Also for the Lady Dutch, Sloan Foster was 25th in 23:56, Kaley Williams was 31st in 24:10, Gina Schneider was 48th in 25:15, 53rd was Alexis Hanes in 25:41, and 88th was Rachel Schreiber in 30:43.
Gennocro was the only member of the Lady Dutch squad to qualify for the State meet.