Bricker's attempt at fourth title falls short
Lauren Bricker's attempt to become the first female to win four WPIAL Class AAA cross country titles came up short Thursday afternoon.
And the senior from Hempfield Area could have had many excuses why she didn't win at Slippery Rock University and placed 13th in the race.
Bricker has been bothered by a sore back the past few weeks. There was pressure placed on her to win her fourth title. And there was the team's late arrival to the site. Hempfield arrived only minutes before the girls race at 3 p.m.
But Hempfield coach Ron Colland said that Bricker would not use those as excuses.
"We just picked a bad day to run a bad race," Colland said. "I'm disappointed for the team and for Lauren.
"She'll accept what happened and will move on. She'll be fine."
Colland did say he could tell there was something physically wrong with her during her race. He said she seemed to struggle at times.
Bricker did qualify for the PIAA meet, which will be held Nov. 2 at Hershey. Colland is hoping his star runner will be focused and run her best race.
"Ron Moore was undefeated one season for us," Colland said. "He came to the WPIAL finals and lost. He was in tears, but he refocused and set a course record in winning the PIAA race."
He hopes Bricker does the same.
One runner in the girls race who did have a good run was Amy Egan of Greater Latrobe, who finished third.
"This was a good surprise," Egan said. "This was my best race ever. I didn't think I could do it."
She ran a personal best 19:38.
Christine Taranto of West Allegheny placed first in the race, and Kaitlin Grimm of Penn Hills finished second.
The best race of the day was the Class AA boys, which was won by Dan Erny of Brentwood.
Erny outkicked Steve New of Greensburg Central Catholic to win at the finish line by one second.
"Dan had a great kick," New said. "I thought I had him, but he got me at the end. It was the closest race I've been involved in. I hope I can get him back at the PIAA race."
Sam Bair of Shaler won the Class AAA boys race, while Maxine Markfield of Quaker Valley took the Class AA girls race.