RIDGWAY - The Elk County Catholic cross country teams successfully defended their District 9 Class AA championships by taking home the team titles at the 2010 District 9 meets held at Ridgway’s Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School on Boot Jack Road Saturday.
The Crusaders won the boys’ title with a total of 63 points. They were followed by Oswayo Valley with 69, Cranberry 80, Northern Potter 86, Kane 144, North Clarion 147, Moniteau 217, Brockway 217, Clarion-Limestone 234, Brookville 236, AC Valley 277, DuBois Central 328, Smethport 368 and Port Allegany 387.
Harley Thompson of ECC was the individual champion, crossing the finish line in first with a time of 16:46.30. Steven Kibbe of Northern Potter was second in 17:16.46.
In the girls’ team race, Elk Catholic finished with 66 points followed by Cranberry with 76, Smethport 130, Brockway 137, Clarion 141, Northern Potter 147, St. Marys 153, Clarion-Limestone 168, Moniteau 199, Coudersport 206, Kane 251 and AC Valley 300.
This was the 10th consecutive District 9 title for the Lady Crusaders and the sixth for the Crusaders.
In the boys’ race for Elk Catholic, Caleb Lecker was in fourth place with a time of 17:26.83. Ryan Detsch took 11th place in 18:07.31. Joe Hoffman was the next Crusader to cross the line in 23rd place in 18:36. Robert Prokop was 32nd in 19:03. Ben Crowe was 45th in 19:42, with Nick Erich placing 62nd in 20:23.
In Class AA the top two teams plus the top 10 individuals qualify for the PIAA meet. The Crusaders, along with the Oswayo Valley Green Wave, will be competing at states. The top10 individuals are: Steven Kibbe of Northern Potter, Nick Schmader of Clarion, Andrew Morgan of Northern Potter, Casey Spence of Cranberry, Morgan Huegel of Cranberry, Cody Schreiber of Johnsonburg, who was 12th in 18:10, Steven Forney of Coudersport, Ryan Zacherl of Cranberry, Noah Jordan of Otto-Eldred and Nathan Moore of Kane.
“This has been the hardest-working group I think we have ever had. It’s nice to see their hard work pay off,” said ECCHS coach Wee J. Fernan.
“Harley Thompson has worked as hard as anyone. He has improved his speed and endurance,” said Fernan.
Leading the Lady Crusaders’ first-place finish was Kennedy Weisner, who placed third in 19:24. Maggie Sorg was seventh in 20:40, with Cassie Thompson taking 10th in 21:12. Kate Singer finished 15th in 21:44. Tess Onink and Hannah Pontzer crossed the line in 47th and 48th place with times of 24:10 and 24:13, respectively. Jessica Franco placed 83rd with a time of 28:43.
“Everyone has been hurting for numbers. We have a solid group of girls. One through four are really strong and five, six, seven and eight have come a long way,” said Fernan.
“It has to be a team effort and they work well together,” he added.
Along with the ECC and Cranberry squads, also qualifying in the girls’ race for Saturday’s championships are Bailey Kemp of Oswayo Valley, Taylor Beimel of Kane, Kellie Wyatt of Clarion-Limestone, Tracy Woodring of Smethport, Cailyn Lingwall of Clarion, Brittany Hindman and Zoe Hawkins, both of Brockway, Lacee Scheerbaum of Karns City and Emily Dinger of Brookville.
Schreiber was the lone competitor for the Rams, and he qualified for states with his 12th-place finish.
For the Ridgway Elkers, Kyle Caggiano placed 38th in 19:14, while Dakota Dahler was 85th in 21:48.
For the Lady Elkers, Alexis Konen placed 22nd in 22:10 and Johnsonburg’s Kathryn Polaski finished 29th in 22:44.