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Area cross country teams kick off season at Red, White & Blue Classic

Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Athletes take off during the start of the varsity girls 5K during the Red, White and Blue Invitational on Saturday, September 7, 2013, in Schenley Park.

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Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Bishop Canevin senior cross country runner Caroline DeFrank knows her team needs to see the best competition during the season if it wants to reach the PIAA championships.

Going to the Red, White and Blue Classic was a good start.

The 10th annual event was held Saturday at Schenley Park. The girls race featured 473 runners from Class AAA, AA and A in the WPIAL as well as teams from around the PIAA and West Virginia.

“We came out when I was a freshman,” DeFrank said. “We knew there was so much good competition here. It will give us a good taste of what we need to expect at the state meet. That is something that will help since I think we have a good chance of making it.”

DeFrank led the squad with a finish in 67th with a time of 20:25.

“I wanted to do a lot better,” DeFrank said. “I have been out for a week and I am a little sick. It was my first race. I know I could have done better. It will be good motivation for the rest of the year.”

Other finishers included sophomore Leah Narkevic in 125th (21:28), freshman Becca Volz in 164th (21:54), Mary Olivia Philbin in 258th (23:27), freshman Sarah Green in 293rd (24:27), freshman Annie Philbin in 317th (25:20) and junior Mary Frances Philbin in 332nd (26:06).

“They learned from the race,” coach Eric Shafer said. “This is the largest race they will run all season. It showed us we have a little work to do. It gives us something to build upon.”

Only one team the Crusaders will see at the WPIAL Class A championship race finished ahead of Bishop Canevin as Our Lady of Sacred Heart came in 27th.

The Bishop Canevin boys squad finished in 59th in its race. Senior Marty Scanlon led the team with a time of 18:48 (232nd). Other finishers included senior Kelly Burgess in 318th (20:09), senior Nick Rajakovich in 369th (21:30), sophomore Sean Finn in 371st (21:31) and sophomore Logan Aiello in 398th (25:57).

“We were short a few boys,” Shafer sid. “We had some solid performances with guys running their personal bests.”

Chartiers Valley

The Colts boys finished in 26th with senior Alex Krieger leading the way with a time of 17:03 (55th). Other finishers included senior Corey Gulakowski in 126th (17:46), sophomore Micah Colson in 163rd (18:10), sophomore Matthew Thomas in 170th (18:15), sophomore Joseph Westrick in 194th (18:30) and junior Tyler Wynn in 198th (18:33).

Chartiers Valley had one female runner finish as sophomore Micah Colson ran a time of 37:52 to come in 471st.

Keystone Oaks

The Golden Eagles girls squad came in 38th. A trio of sophomores led the team as Jenny Murtha finished in 120th (21:22), Lauren Ragan came in 166th (21:54) and Maryah Agurs finished in 259th (23:28). Other finishers included junior Elizabeth Boyle in 263rd (23:20), senior Mariah Berman in 275th (23:49), junior Erica Ragan in 300th (24:37) and junior Marlee Shipp (24:38).

The boys team finished in 60th. Junior Tom Gorman led the way with a time of 19:44 (300th). Other finishers included freshman Doug Sabo in 352nd (20:53), senior Jesse Stefanski in 370th (21:30), sophomore Connor Meriwether in 400th (27:30) and junior Nevin Kelly in 403rd (27:45).

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or 412-388-5813.

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