Uniontown seniors collect titles at Fayette County cross country meet
Uniontown cross country runners Brady Guthrie and Julie Gerber had a little extra motivation heading into Thursday's Fayette County Cross Country championships at Penn State Fayette.
Both runners are seniors, and both understood that this would be their last time competing on their home course at the college campus. With that in mind, each wanted to make their last meet at Penn State Fayette a memorable one, and both succeeded with first-place finishes to win this year's county crowns.
Guthrie (16:48) outlasted teammate and second-place finisher Nate Edenfield (17:07) to win the boys race. Gerber (19:22) broke away late in the girls race to defeat second-place finisher Marisa Deichert (19:43) of Laurel Highlands.
“I usually go out fast, but I stayed with him (Edenfield) to see what kind of pace he ran,” Guthrie said. “He pushed me through the whole thing. A lot of credit goes to him.”
Guthrie also won the Fayette County meet last year.
“It was my second time winning it, and it means a lot,” Guthrie said. “My big motivation was that it was my last time running here, and I wanted to go out with a bang.”
Uniontown's Paul Klatt (18:02) and Braden Carei (18:19) took fourth and fifth, and Justin Hostetler (18:30) took seventh as the Red Raiders won the team competition with 19 points. Connellsville finished second with 50 points, followed by Laurel Highlands (87), Brownsville (124) and Albert Gallatin (131).
Connellsville's second-place showing was highlighted by a third-place effort from Joe Baughman (17:52) and an eighth-place finish from Devin Pisarski (18:36).
Baughman started slow but came on strong to finish third.
“That was the plan,” Baughman said. “At the first mile I didn't know how far back I was, but the next thing you know, I was up to fourth or fifth.”
Baughman had thoughts of being among the county's elite.
“I was thinking about it all week,” Baughman said.
Frazier's Christian Katic (18:26) earned all-county honors with a sixth-place performance.
“I was scared, but I kept hearing my coaches in the back of my head telling me to stay calm and relax,” Katic said. “I gradually moved up and picked people off. All the guys ran a great race.”
Other all-county runners included Laurel Highlands' Gregg Maruca (18:39) and Brownsville's Ricky Brown (18:40) in ninth and 10th.
In the girls race, Gerber finally realized a goal by winning the championship. She finished second in each of the past two seasons.
“It's just a great feeling,” Gerber said. “It's the last time I'll run in this race.”
Nearly two weeks ago, Gerber finished second, one spot ahead of Deichert in the Uniontown Invitational. The county championship played out much the same way, although this time the two runners were competing for the top spot. Gerber pulled away late to seal the win.
For Deichert, taking second was a satisfying accomplishment.
“It was good, but it could always be better,” Deichert said. “It was more of (Gerber) pushing. I maintained, but she just had a surge. I tried, but my surge wasn't as strong.”
Deichert can take heart knowing that she helped the Fillies win the team title with 31 points, two points ahead of second-place Uniontown (33 points). Brownsville (81) and Connellsville (114) rounded out the top four.
Laurel Highlands' Brystyn Yanick (20:12) and Melissa McCann (20:48) took third and fifth, while Anne Rice (22:25) nabbed 10th. In addition to Gerber, other Uniontown runners in the top 10 included Jade Bellotti (20:22) in fourth and Katie Burgess (20:58) and Deanna Hager (21:46) in sixth and seventh. Brownsville's Kara Rohlf (21:50) and Albert Gallatin's Elizabeth Trump (22:21) were eighth and ninth.
Ally Wilson (24:33) was Connellsville's top finisher, placing 18th. Christina Babyak (27:39) was Frazier's top runner, finishing 31st.
Uniontown's Billy Seliga and Laurel Highlands' Amanda Means were winners in the junior varsity race. Laurel Highlands' Evan Voyten and Connellsville's Megan Haggerty were first-place finishers in the junior high race.
Jason Black is the Local Sports Editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.