Share This Page

Vincentian freshman wins PIAA cross country title

| Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, 5:30 p.m.

HERSHEY — Those who haven't yet heard of Marianne Abdalah soon will.

That's because the Vincentian Academy freshman has her sights set on becoming a four-time PIAA Class A cross country champion.

She won her first Saturday at the Parkview Cross Country Course near Hersheypark by blowing away the competition.

Abdalah finished the 3.2-mile course in a personal best 18 minutes, 24 seconds, a course record for Class A. The WPIAL champion smashed her mark of 19:11 on the course when she ran in September.

“After the first mile, I dropped my competitors,” Abdalah said. “That was my goal, when the hills started I picked it up. I love the hills.

“It's great to win as a freshman. I really want to win all four years. I have to cross my fingers that another freshman doesn't come up.”

WPIAL girls actually dominated the Class A race. Avonworth senior Beth Shenck finished second in 19:20, Winchester-Thurston senior Madeline Schmiedeknecht finished sixth, Eden Christian sophomore Lauren Gromack was seventh and Riverview sophomore Molly Kennedy was eighth. Four others also finished in the top 25.

“That really showed how strong the WPIAL is Class A,” Abdalah said. “Competing here early this season helped me prepare.”

Abdalah started running when she was 7. Her parents, Marvin and Kim Abdalah, were runners in college.

“They kept encouraging me to win, and then I started to like it,” said Abdalah, who attended North Allegheny schools as a youth. “Now I love it. Coming to a smaller school was good for me.”

Shenck was hoping to stay with Abdalah, but she knew quickly the battle was for second place.

“I wasn't expecting to finish second,” Shenck said. “I'm happy to get a medal.”

It really wasn't a great day for the other runners from the WPIAL. The competition across the state proved to be strong.

The North Allegheny boys finished second in Class AAA. West Chester Henderson finished first with 60 points followed by the Tigers with 97.

North Allegheny senior Cordon Louco said it would have taken a superb effort to beat West Chester Henderson.

“Second place is better than no place,” Louco said. “We were determined to do something great and we did. “

North Allegheny finished fourth in 2012, third in 2011 and first in 2010. Louco was a freshman on the 2010 squad.

“Getting a medal means the world,” Louco said. “We're a close group, a family. This is one of the best feelings of my life.”

The top WPIAL finishers were: Class AAA boys — Fox Chapel senior Colin Martin, seventh; Class AA boys — Uniontown senior Nate Edenfield, fourth; Class A boys — Eden Christian senior Carter Smith, ninth; Class AAA girls — Mt. Lebanon sophomore Kelsey Potts, fourth; and Class AA girls — West Allegheny senior Alexis O'Shea, third.

Martin, Edenfield, Smith, Abdalah, O'Shea and Shaler senior Brianna Schwartz were WPIAL champions. Schwartz ended up fifth in Class AAAA.

O'Shea was happy to place, but disappointed she didn't win.

“I was hoping to do better,” O'Shea said. “But the girls who placed ahead of me were stronger than I expected. I did run my best time here, and this was my best finish.”

Edenfield also was happy to medal.

“My time was good and I ran well,” Edenfield said. “Last year, I was happy to make it. This year, the experience helped and I saw more things. It was fun.”

Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at pschofield@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.