RIDGWAY – The snowy weather and muddy conditions on Saturday in Ridgway did little to slow down the Elk County Catholic High School girls' and boys' cross country squads in the District 9 Cross Country Championships held at the Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School in Ridgway. The girls' team won their 11th consecutive AA team title by four points over Northern Potter, while the boys' team finished second after being edged by Oswayo Valley by one point. Both squads will advance to compete in the state meet next weekend in Hershey.
"I think all of our kids, boys and girls, ran spectacularly. They rose to the challenge of both the weather and the District championship and performed about as well as they could," said ECC coach WeeJ Fernan.
"It is always good when both squads get that trip to states," Fernan added. "The boys really wanted to win, but it's fortunate that they still get to go to states."
Lady Crusader Kennedy Weisner won her first D9 title on Saturday, finishing first overall in the girls' event with a time of 19:39. St. Marys Area's Adair Gennocro finished second in 20:17; however, she and Weisner were running neck-and-neck for much of the race.
"It was a first-time championship for her (Weisner) as an individual, so that's pretty exciting for her," Fernan said.
Crusader Caleb Lecker was second in the boys' event. Oswayo Valley's Barrett Kemp finished first in a time of 17:29, while Lecker crossed the line in 17:51. Also finishing in the top five was ECC's Ryan Detsch, who was fourth in a time of 18:10.
In the girls' AA race, Elk County Catholic finished 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 in third behind Weisner and Gennocro 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. Lady Crusader 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 Crusaders, Cassie Thompson was 12th in 22:20, Hannah Pontzer was 35th in 24:30, Alison Prokop was 38th in 24:45, and Nicole Florio was 47th in 25:13.
In addition to the ECC and Northern Potter squads, other runners qualifying for the state meet are St. Marys Area's Adair Gennocro, Cranberry's Mckenna Spence, Kane Area's Taylor Beimel, Oswayo Valley's Bailey Kemp, Brookville Area's Katie Zents, North Clarion's Jill Wallace, Kane Area's Kristin Boyer, Smethport Area's Danielle Carlson, Karns City's Lacee Scheerbaum and Clarion Area's Emma Giering.
In the boys' AA race, Oswayo Valley finished with a team score of 60, while Elk County Catholic ended up with 61. Northern Potter was third with 88, followed by Cranberry 94, Kane Area 112, North Clarion 181, Otto-Eldred 224, Coudersport 225, Brockway Area 275, Moniteau 294, Port Allegany 295, Brookville Area 328, Clarion-Limestone 345, Smethport Area 365, DuBois Area Catholic 382, and Allegheny Clarion Valley 393.
Finishing third behind Kemp and Lecker was Cranberry's Casey Spence in 18:07. Detsch was fourth for ECC, followed by North Clarion's Nick Schmader in fifth in 18:15. Kane Area's Avery Colson was sixth in 18:20, Cranberry's Ryan Zacherl was seventh in 18:21, and Oswayo Valley's Spencer Cole and Gabe Rees were eighth and ninth with times of 18:22 and 18:26, respectively. Rounding out the top 10 was Northern Potter's Tim Adams in 18:39.
Also for the Crusaders, Joe Hoffman was 12th in 18:46, Drew Bille was 16th in 18:59, Peter Cooney was 30th in 19:52, Ryan Jacobs was 50th in 21:11, and Lucas Knight was 60th in 21:42.
In addition to the Oswayo Valley and ECC teams, other runners qualifying for the state meet are Cranberry's Casey Spence, North Clarion's Nick Schmader, Kane Area's Avery Colson, Cranberry's Ryan Zacherl, Northern Potter's Tim Adams, Otto-Eldred's Noah Jordan, Kane Area's Jon Gelsick, Coudersport's Steven Forney, Johnsonburg Area's Cody Schreiber, and Northern Potter's Ethan Kibbe.