Bishop Canevin cross country runners finish strong at PIAA race
It was a historic trip to Hershey for Bishop Canevin cross country runner Caroline Defrank.
The junior ran in the PIAA Class A championship race, the first time the race was being held. Defrank had a strong showing finishing in 18th place with a time of 20:31.
Her top 25 finish made her the first all-state cross country runner in Bishop Canevin history.
“It was one of her better performances this year,” Bishop Canevin cross country coach Eric Shafer said. “She had a similar time to what she can at WPIALs. The course was harder than what she saw at Cooper's Lake.”
Shaffer said the course at Hershey had a lot of hills, especially in the middle and at the end.
“That is one spot where (Defrank) stepped it up,” Shaffer said. “She pushed herself up the last hill. You could tell she was giving it everything she had.”
Defrank made it to the championship race after finishing in second in the WPIAL Class A championship race. It was a rewarding end to her cross country season as she had finished just outside of qualifying for state the past two seasons.
“As a sophomore she was disappointed with not making states,” Shafer said. “Then in track season last year, she made it to states in the 3,200 but didn't have the best performance. I think it motivated her even more.
“I checked the results and seven of the top 10 at the state race were seniors. She has the potential to have a good showing next season.”
Sophomore Bailey Burgess also competed in the race, finishing in 94th with a time of 22:10.
“We talked a little bit before the race and we knew there was more than 200 runners,” Shafer said. “The goal was to get in the top 100. It was a good measuring stick for her to see where she is at.”
Burgess finished in 19th at the WPIAL Class A championship race.
With two runners from the girls squad making it to the PIAA championship race, it may be a preview of what the team can do next season.
The five runners from the WPIAL championships – which includes sophomore Mary Olivia Philbin and freshmen Leah Narkevic and Sam Vanek – are all expected to return next season after the squad finished fourth, one spot outside of qualifying for the PIAA race as a team.
With the majority of the team running track in the spring, things are looking bright for the Lady Crusaders.
“I mentioned to them at the awards banquet if the team would have made it to states and ran similar times, we would have finished in 13th,” Shaffer said. “I think they know what they can do now and how good they can be.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-388-5813.