Kiski Area junior, Shaler sophomore win cross country meet
Kiski Area junior Brent Kennedy and Shaler sophomore Brianna Schwartz had a lot in common at the 10th Red, White & Blue Classic cross country meet Saturday morning at the Schenley Oval.
Not only did both run with former training partners, but they crossed the finish line first — and in personal-best times despite a light drizzle that cooled temperatures and muddied the trail.
Kennedy, a junior at Kiski Area, won the boys' race in 15 minutes, 27 seconds, pulling away in the final loop to beat Fox Chapel's Ethan Martin (15:35), Grove City's Daniel Jaskowak (15:40) and Allderdice's Ean Disilvio (15:55).
Kennedy spent a week this summer at Notre Dame's running camp training with Jaskowak, who won the Red, White & Blue last year. Kennedy was sixth last year in 15:51, his former personal record.
“We became good friends, and we worked together with Ethan Martin and Ean Disilvio and separated ourselves as a pack of four,” said Kennedy, who was fourth in the WPIAL and seventh in the PIAA as a sophomore.
“I was just looking for the opportunity to get some great competition. I was coming out looking for a chance to win. It's definitely a good start to the season. It's something to build on.”
Schwartz spent the summer running at North Park with North Hills junior Mary Malone, then pulled away from her in the final loop to win the girls' race in 18:07.
That is 54 seconds better than her previous best time. Malone finished second, at 18:20, Morgantown's Brynn Harshbarger third in 18:24, Mt. Lebanon's Jillian Hunsberger (18:30) and another of Schwartz's training partners, Hampton's Gina Alm (18:40), rounded out the top five.
“I knew we would all be together,” said Schwartz, who finished fifth at last year's Red, White & Blue Classic and was seventh in the WPIAL and 22nd in the PIAA. “A lot of seniors graduated, so I knew who would be in the top five. It definitely gives me confidence going into the season.”
Schwartz also gave up basketball, where she played point guard, to concentrate on cross country after finishing third in the WPIAL and 12th in the state in the mile.
“The first two miles, I stayed pretty conservative. With one mile to go, I passed up the leaders and just took off,” she said. “I'm usually toward the front because I know a lot of other girls have a good kick.”
North Allegheny won the boys A meet with 58 points, and four finishers in the top 20. Mt. Lebanon was second (98), followed by Fox Chapel (142).
Morgantown won the girls A meet with 67 points and four runners finishing in the top 17. Mt. Lebanon was second (75), followed by Hampton (189) and North Hills (199).
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7812.