Five Venango County runners qualified for states during the District 10 meet in Titusville on Saturday.
Franklin’s Nadalie Latchaw led the way as the only girl qualifier with a fourth-place finish in Class AA with a time of 19:16. It will be the junior’s second trip to Hershey in as many years hoping to improve upon her 70th place finish a year ago.
Oil City’s Kennedy Liederbach and Ella Spence came in back-to-back with respectable 28th and 29th finishes. The 2A meet featured a tough Cathedral Prep team in the 105-runner race. Prep's Sarah Clark, was the overall winner.
Rocky Grove freshman Isabel Griffin was the top local finisher in the Class A race, coming in 20th.
In the boys’ competition, Oil City’s Jack Mumford, junior, and Franklin’s Caleb Prettyman, junior, finished in the top 20 and will move on to states. Mumford finished 10th with a time of 16:36. Prettyman snagged the last qualifying spot in the 2A race, finishing 18th with a time of 16:54.
Cathedral Prep’s Luke Brown won the race in strong fashion by clocking a 15:45 on the 3.1-mile course.
Oil City placed fifth in the team competition that was dominated by Grove City, who took four of the top five spots in the race. Sophomore Elijah Brosius was Oil City’s other runner to place in the top 25, coming in 24th with a time of 17:10.
Franklin also had a strong showing by sophomore Jay Prettyman, who finished 21 out of 108 with a time of 17:01. The team placed 12th.
After leading early in the race, Rocky Grove’s Ethan "Rabbit" Knapp, junior, held on to finish fifth in Class A with a time of 16:54. He will be joined in Hershey by teammate senior Evan Wolfgong, who claimed 13th place and the final qualifying spot with a time of 17:21. It will be a return trip for the pair, who lead their team in during the 2021 state competition. In that race, Wolfgong finished 59th overall and Knapped took 60th.
The Orioles were not able to three-peat as district champions and were a few points shy of qualifying as a team. Lakeview erupted with cheers when it was announced they were the district champs. West Middlesex took second.
Rocky Grove’s Easton Adamczyk also cracked the top 20 with a 19th-place finish. The Orioles trio of Gauge Gierlach, Cael Dailey and Nathaniel Bolley finished 28th, 29th and 30th respectively.
Sam Hetrick, a senior from Saegertown High School, won the boys single A race with a time of 16:34, squeaking out a win from Cochranton junior Kyler Woolstrum by six seconds.
In other cross-country news, Cranberry will be sending both their boys and girls teams to Hershey after placing second in Class A races at the District 9 competition in Ridgway Saturday.
The Cranberry’s girl team was paced by sophomore Karleigh Shaffer, who placed third, followed by sophomore sisters Kelsey and Kayla Hanna, who were sixth and ninth respectively. Also competing for Berries was Jordan Montgomery, 20th; Ashlyn Shultz, 21st; and Zofia Earp, 31rd.
Freshman Dalton Wenner lead the boys team with a fourth-place finish, followed closely by senior Ben Seybert in sixth. Sophomores Kaleb Heath and Dane Wenner finished 20th and 27th. Other Cranberry runners were Noel Bunyak, 34th; Mariner Perry, 38th; and Thatcher Matassa, 56th.
The state championships will be held in Hershey next weekend.
Good luck to Ethan Knapp, Evan Wolfgong, Jack Mumford, Caleb Prettyman, Nadalie Latchaw and both Cranberry boys and girls' squads down in Chocolatetown. We at Eight & 322 are confident you will represent this community well.
Visit https://sayerrich.zenfolio.com/p373761104 to view more photos.
Visit: https://sayerrich.zenfolio.com/p373761104 to view more photos.
Opening round losses for the Knights
The Franklin boys soccer team, which is a coop with Rocky Grove, will meet Grove City Monday night for the first round of the District 10 playoffs. The teams will play at 7:30 p.m. in Titusville.
Franklin finished the season in third place in Region 4 with an 11-3-0 region record and a 13-4-1 overall record, according to the Erie Times. This earned them a ninth seed in the 2A district tournament. Grove City is seeded eighth.
It's playoff time for volleyball
Edited to correct day of match.
While many area volleyball teams have wrapped up their seasons, the Franklin Knights girls volleyball team is heading into the playoffs with a matchup against Habor Creek at 6 p.m. Monday at Cochranton High School. Franklin goes into the game seeded 10th out of the 12 teams in the 2A division bracket of District 10. The Harbor Creek Huskies are seeded 7th. The top four teams got byes in the first round. The winner of Franklin Harbor Creek will face #2 seed Saegertown.
Cranberry is the only other area team to make the playoffs this season. The Berries will face the home-standing Kane Wolves at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. There are only four teams in the 2A division of District 9. Cranberry is seeded third and Kane is second. The winner will face Punxsutawney or Keystone in the finals.
What's in a number anyway
It's no secret Ethen Knox's numbers are getting a lot of attention... wait, did I already start an earlier article that way? He's been featured all over the place in article after article, even getting national exposure. On social media, he's been compared to Derrick Henry because of his stats. Keyboard warriors are quick to point out the differences in the types of programs and schools, some are even a bit rude about their claims saying there is no comparison. But those naysayers with nothing better to do with their time fail to point out that nearly all of high school football is played, at any divisional level, and no one else is coming close to these numbers.
I've gotten a few requests for pictures of Knox and even hired to get a "feature" photo of him without his helmet on (yes, Ethen that's why I was creeping on you Friday before the game started.)
Knox's numbers are ridiculous and it is also no secret that the Oiler offense is set up to get him the ball, create opportunities for his fast legs to find some room and then let him get the bonus yards. The offensive line is good, very good, but Knox's eyes scanning for creases to pour his body through are remarkable.
It will be interesting to see if teams can stop him like Meadville did.
Whether he rushed for over 400 yards for the seventh time this year is actually immaterial for this season. The focus now is on playoffs and what can this team do. Records are for looking back. And there will be pouring over the tape to see what his actual count was Friday. Whatever it ends up being, it was still a monster running back effort and he, the QB, the full back and the o-line should be very proud of that effort.
There was a time we thought having a 100-yard game was good. When Knox was held to right around 100, it was considered shutting him down.
Sharon backed out of the final game of the season so Oil City now awaits the playoffs and maybe gives their running back a little rest to get his legs fresh again.
All of this talk doesn't even include his time on defense. He's quietly racking up interceptions like the one Friday night against Titusville pictured above.
The Oiler coaching staff released Monday that The Derrick's number of 395 yards is accurate. So Knox ends the regular season without adding another 400 yarder.
Below are a few more photos from Oil City's 30-14 win over Titusville. Our attendance was in multi capacity - we were photographing for the Harrisburg paper story on Knox, and helping "The Titusville Herald" with coverage and trying to grab a few shots for ourselves. For more check out our friends at route8rivalry.com.
We feel the pain
Other than the rare tie, someone had to lose Friday night. Or, on a more positive note, someone had to win.
Conneaut and Franklin went into Friday night's matchup with equal records - neither team had won this year. At the end of the first half, it appeared there was a game. It was 14 to 10 in favor of the Eagles.
At the end of the game, it was the same score.
These are two teams who can feel each other's pain.
Last year Franklin was the one who defeated the Eagles.
It is hard to know where either program is going in the future. Coach Matt Turk said last week "The program is the program. It's not going to change." He was referencing the junior varsity and junior high teams growing up. Perhaps both squads have this youth culture of future success ahead?
For Conneaut, their season came to an end on a high note. Though they may try to pick up an additional game next week. Franklin is scheduled to face Lakeview, who is 5-4 overall and lost big against Reynolds Friday night. Their goal will be to upset the Sailors and grab at least one victory this year.
For Matt Turk's Franklin Knight family, there is only one way to think - the future is the only way to look.
The Knight's best chance
Franklin out duels the Orioles
Last year, we admit, we spent a lot of time on Rocky Grove girls volleyball. We got caught up in their undefeated run because, frankly, this was a new thing for the program.
And they were good. Possibly the best in program history. Other than a top tier, district champion level team, they were right there.
But as with all high school programs, graduations happen. Coach Mike Stevenson's Orioles aren't the same squad this year.
That said, like all high school programs the coaches and kids are showing up to practice and to game after game to see what they have.
On the other side of the net, the Franklin Knights are putting together a very respectful season. Though they are roughly 50% they are not in the easiest of conferences with the likes of Saegertown, Slippery Rock and Sharpsville. They started strong and are finding ways to beat the teams they should at this point in the season.
Below are some shots from the recent Rocky Grove vs. Franklin match that Franklin won in three sets 25-19, 25-14 and 25-23.
Also running for Rocky Grove Saturday morning were seniors Logan Swartz and Jason Dunkle, juniors Cael Dailey and Ethan Baker, and sophomores Nathaniel Boley, Landon Platt and Quinten Boozell.
The successful outing has the team gearing up for their next big competition – District 10 championship on October 29 in Titusville. The Orioles have come out on top for their division there in the last two years.
“Our course is for sure a pretty difficult course compared to most,” he said in reference to the trail’s hills and woods. In comparison, Titusville’s course is flatter and often times results in faster overall times.
“My boys team is excited to get a shot at another district title. They still have a lot of work to do to be able to run with the other D10 schools, so we will work on that...,” Beightol said.
His advice to his runners going into the next two weeks – be focused.
“I’d say at this point, be mentally focused and ready to run at a faster pace on a much faster course than we have here,” he told PA Milespit. “We just keep chipping away for another three or four days, I think we will be ready.”
Check out all the Rocky Grove Invitational results at www.runhigh.com.
Runners are a different breed
A cross country coach today saw a runner cross the finish line, who was obviously suffering from the exhaustive pain of pushing oneself physically passed the point their mind thought was acceptable. "Are you ok?" the coach asked. "No," the young runner replied.
Laughter. The coach didn't say a word at first, just laughed. A few seconds later, "good job."
That's cross country.
The gifted runners end with perhaps a little "runner's high" but look like they could run another one in a little while. The middle of the pack is where you see the extreme efforts to fight the mind's desire to stop.
They finish and some are not even sure what their names are anymore. The neurons in the brain and the muscles in the legs are no longer on speaking terms.
Runners are not constructed the same as everyone else - they are a different breed. When the toe hurts it sends a message to the brain and the brain negotiates more time to assess. When the thigh screams bloody murder, the brain tells it that we only have a few more steps, then a few more steps later the thighs realize the brain lied to them.
The brain is evil - at least in the body of a runner.
Rocky Grove boys varsity took the overall team championship with Ethan Knapp leading the team with a fourth-place finish. When Schiffer Anderson, Easton Adamczyk and Evan Wolfgong came in bunched up at 12, 14 and 15th places, they set up a good shot of a team championship. Freshman Gauge Gierlach sealed the deal crossing the finish line in 31st place.
This was the first time the Orioles have won their own invite in a while and first time under Coach Josh Beightol.
The Oil City boys were right on the heels of the Orioles, coming in second overall without their top runner. Leading the Oilers was freshman Keegan Kirkwood, who edged out teammate sophomore Elijah Brosius to finish 10th and 11th respectively. Sophomore Eli Collins was 20th followed by senior Andrew McGarvie at 25th and junior Colin Liederbach at 30th.
Other top Venango boys runners to finish in the top fourth of the 217 racers were Franklin's Caleb Prettyman in fifth and Jay Prettyman in 16th. Cranberry runners Kaleb Heath finished 45th with teammates Mariner Perry in 53rd place and Dane Wenner in 54th.
The Titusville Rockets took home top honors in the varsity girls race with Cranberry coming in second. The Berries Kelsey Hanna came in eighth, Karleigh Shaffer, 13th; Kayla Hanna, 26th; Ashlyn Shultz, 55th; and Jordan Montgomery, 58th.
Franklin junior Nadalie Latchaw placed third and was the top Venango runner in the girls varsity race, which had 187 competitors. Other top 40 local runners were Kennedy Liederbach, Oil City, 16th; Isabel Griffin, Rocky Grove, 31st; and Ella Speece, Oil City, 37th.
Oil City eighth grader Corabel Shiley came in second place in the girls junior high race. Cranberry teammates Darien Wenner and Gracee Hess came in 9th and 11th respectively. Kaylin Adamczyk was the top Rocky Grove finisher at 33rd place and Justeyn Winner was the top finisher for Franklin at 36th.
Jayden Miller of Rocky Grove was the top Venango runner in the boys junior high race, placing 23rd. His teammate Miles Baker was only shortly behind him at 26th place. Elias Fox of Cranberry was the top Berry at 25th place. Owen James was the top placing Oiler at 52th. Finishing first for Franklin was Jackson Wilson at 61st.
Please see story about Rocky Grove boys as they prepare to defend their district title and shoot for a three-peat.
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Route 8 Rivalry is a website dedicated the long history of the Oil City and Franklin football rivalry by former sports editor Penny Weichel. It is an amazing labor of love and valuable resource for history. It is our go-to here at 8and322.com.