Kiski Area's Kennedy, Latrobe's Green win WCCA cross country titles
Their times weren't record setting, but for Kiski Area junior Brent Kennedy and Latrobe senior Hanna Green, winning a cross country title still was special.
After getting quick starts, Kennedy and Green breezed to their second Westmoreland County Coaches' Association titles Thursday on the hilly terrain at Seton Hill.
Kennedy has won two consecutive titles, while Green, who won as a sophomore, said a better attitude keyed her second win.
It also was a banner day for the Kiski Area boys and girls teams as both grabbed titles. It was the boys' second consecutive title, while the girls edged Hempfield for the girls crown, 54-62.
Kennedy opened a 50-yard lead during the first mile, mainly a downhill run, over Hempfield senior Jon Faye and Franklin Regional senior Luke Schott. He maintained the pace throughout the race.
Faye ended up second and Schott third. Norwin's Brandon Moretton finished fourth and Kiski Area's Tyler Snider fifth.
“It's definitely fun to win a race and get a team win,” Kennedy said. “It's the county meet, and you're running with your friends here.”
Kennedy's time of 17 minutes, 6.8 seconds was slower than last year's winning time of 16:26.9. He said changes to the course made it tougher, and not being as pressed by the competition and a new strategy were reasons for the slower time.
“I pushed it hard early in the race,” Kennedy said.
Faye, who placed fourth last year, was pleased with his second-place finish.
“I figured Brent would win. I just ran my best,” Faye said.
The Kiski Area boys finished with 39 points, followed by Franklin Regional (69) and Latrobe (99).
Ten of the 13 schools that have cross country teams in the county participated in the annual event.
Green used her long stride to open a big lead during the first mile, leaving Franklin Regional senior Kaitlyn Figurelli and Hempfield sophomore Morgan Ansell to battle for second.
Green's winning time was 20:05.7 — 1:20 minute faster than last year's, when she placed 13th.
“This year, I knew I could do it. Last year, I didn't believe I had a chance,” Green said. “I wanted it really bad this year. It's my senior year, and I wanted to prove I could win it again.”
Figurelli held off Ansell for second place. Norwin's Abby Pristas was fourth and Kiski Area's Lauren Smeltzer fifth, followed by teammate Morgan Kiebler.
Figurelli ran the same exact time she ran a year ago (20:21.6). Ansell's 20:40.3 was six seconds slower.
Paul Schofield is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-836-5095.