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Keytone Oaks' Murtha qualifies for PIAA XC championship race

| Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Mike Love | for the Signal Item

Keystone Oaks sophomore Jenny Murtha said it didn't take much to get her ready to run the WPIAL Class AA championship race at Cooper's Lake Campground last week – just some positive reenforcement.

“My coach really encouraged me and made me feel like I could do it,” the sophomore said. “My friends and family were all really supportive of me.”

Murtha finished in 17th with a time of 20:51 to qualify for her first PIAA championship race. It was a strong improvement for Murtha, who ran the Tri-State Coaches Association invite – held at the same course as the WPIAL race– the week prior and finished with a time of 21:40.

Murtha is the first Golden Eagle runner to qualify for the state championship meet since Elizabeth Boyle in 2011. While Murtha said she is excited, she is a bit nervous about the championship race Saturday – held at Parkview Cross Country Course in Hershey.

“I am super psyched,” Murth said. “It might be a little overwhelming because all the runners are so good.”

Other finishers for Keystone Oaks included sophomore Lauren Ragan in 44th (22:10), junior Elizabeth Boyle in 76th (23:13), senior Mariah Berman in 78th (23:21), junior Marlee Shipp in 102nd (24:20), junior Erica Ragan in 132nd (25:30) and senior Megan Staab in 152nd (28:06).

The team finished in 11th place, up from a 24th-place finish in 2012. The future is bright for the Keystone Oaks girls squad as it will return five of the seven runners next season.

The boys team, meanwhile, finished in 25th. Junior Tom Gorman led the way with a time of 18:26 to finish in 46th.

Other finishers included senior Jesse Stefanski in 126th (20:19), senior Camden Anderson in 131st (20:22), junior Dante Barbetti in 166th (21:26), senior Ryan McCay in 177th (21:45), freshman Doug Sabo in 186th (22:02) and junior Nevin Kelly in 213th (26:07)

Chartiers Valley

The Chartiers Valley boys team finished 17th overall in the Class AAA race. Senior Alex Krieger led the way with a time of 17:42 to finish in 69th. Senior Corey Gulkowski was close behind with a time of 17:52 to finish in 80th.

Other finishers for the Colts included junior Zack Cox in 91st (18:06), sophomore Joseph Westrick in 112th (18:20), sophomore Matthew Thomas in 123rd (18:27), sophomore Micah Colson in 133rd (18:42) and junior Tyler Wynn in 146th (18:53).

The Chartiers Valley girls squad finished 28th. Sophomore Alexis Byers led the way with a time of 22:10 to finished in 110th.

Other finishers included sophomore Amy MacFarlane in 136th (22:53), freshman Hannah Thornton in 143rd (23:06), freshman Elena Laquatra in 154th (23:24), freshman Anna Graeb in 168th (23:47), sophomore Natalie Voll in 171st (23:58) and junior Lauren Bittner in 199th (26:04).

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at nsmith@tribweb.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

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