Fox Chapel girls edge Manheim Township by one to win PIAA Class AAA cross country title
HERSHEY — Fox Chapel senior Caelan Miller usually is the top runner her team. Saturday, her teammates picked her up, and Fox Chapel left the PIAA cross country championship at Parkview Course with the Class AAA team title.
The Fox Chapel girls edged Manheim Township, 78-79.
Junior Sarena Seeger, who placed 11th, led the Foxes. Junior Annika Urban was 28th, Miller 30th, sophomore Grace Sisson 47th and sophomore Brooke Krally 74th. Junior Anna Folkerts and sophomore Isabelle Doerr rounded out the Foxes' lineup.
“Winning this is the most amazing thing,” Seeger said. “We've been dreaming about it all season. We really didn't know it was going to happen because we got second at WPIALs. We still can't get over it.”
All Miller could say to her teammates was, “Thanks.”
“I think training together, and we pushed ourselves pretty hard,” Miller said. “The team chemistry really helped. We're all pretty close. We wanted it for each other. It goes beyond just placing well.”
Miller said Seeger and Urban ran amazing races.
“We ran great races, except me,” Miller said.
North Allegheny senior Clara Savchik finished second, and Upper St. Clair senior Savannah Shaw placed third in the individual race.
They were the top WPIAL finishers in Class AAA.
Only one WPIAL runner, Winchester Thurston senior Tristan Forsythe in Class A, came home with a PIAA title. He ran a 16 minutes, 12 seconds.
“This feels great,” Forsythe said. “I blew a big lead last year, so it makes this win that much sweeter. I've been thinking about this for the past 365 days.
“I was a heavy favorite coming in, so this is more of a relief than anything. I finally got that state gold in cross country.”
Riverview senior Ben Barnes placed seventh despite running with a brace around his lower back to support a fracture in his spine.
“I'm happy with my finish, but I thought it should have been higher,” Barnes said. “This was my best finish, but I was hoping for a top-five finish.”
Butler senior Noah Beveridge, the WPIAL Class AAA champion, placed second, just ahead of North Allegheny sophomore Daniel McGoey.
Beveridge and PIAA champion Rusty Kujdvch of Neshaminy were neck-and-neck through two miles before Kujdvch pulled away.
“My legs didn't hold up,” Beveridge said. “I tried to come back twice, but I couldn't stay with him.”
The Riverview boys, the Alle-Kiski Valley's other PIAA team qualifier, finished eighth out of 18 teams in the Class A standings thanks to a fifth-place finish from senior Ben Barnes. Barnes finished in 16:41, 29 seconds off Forsythe's pace.
Other Riverview finishers included Mike Komaniak (20th), Gideon Deasy (53rd), Ryan Cecil (61st) and Jacob Sullivan (72nd).
Among individual girls competitors, Riverview's Izzy Komaniak finished 54th in the Class A girls race, with teammate Hanna Drozynski in 142nd. Kiski Area's Kierra Shreffler finished 160th in the Class AAA girls race.
Boys individual qualifiers included Freeport's Johnathan Asay, Deer Lakes Josh Klemmensen and Highlands' C.J. Thimons, who took 62nd, 143rd and 157th, respectively, in the Class AA race. Fox Chapel teammates Christian Fitch and Ian Brown finished 30th and 140th, respectively, in the Class AAA race.
Greensburg Salem juniors Mark Brown and Cameron Binda earned all-state honors in Class AA by finishing eighth and 19th, respectively.
The top Class AA finisher from the WPIAL was Quaker Valley sophomore Annie Wicker (eighth). Brownsville sophomore Gionna Quarzo was 10th, and senior teammate Sara Vance was 21st.
New Brighton senior Alyssa Campbell (third) was the WPIAL's top Class A finisher.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.