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.
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