High School Sports

St. Joe’s girls’ cross country, Mazza win state titles

St. Joseph’s Sera Mazza placed first in the PIAA cross country championship on Saturday in Hershey.
St. Joseph’s Sera Mazza placed first in the PIAA cross country championship on Saturday in Hershey. Photo provided

On Saturday, the St. Joseph Catholic Academy girls’ cross country team took the Class A state title with a final score of 103. The Lady Wolves were followed by Elk Lake (203), Marion Center (114), Vincentian Academy (127) and Sacred Heart (135) to finish the top-five.

Sera Mazza finished in first place individually with a time of 19:17, while teammates Julia Cusatis (20:24), Addie Ebbs and Maggie Urban — both of whom tied with a time of 20:34 — finished the in the top 20 at 18 and 20, respectively, for the Lady Wolves. Grace Cousins (21:49), Kate Ott (22:07) and Lindsay Carmack (22:22) rounded out St. Joseph’s scoring by finishing 43rd, 49th and 54th, respectively.

While Mazza took the individual title, she was followed by Christina DiFalco, who finished second with a time of 19:22 and represented Pine Grove, Alyssa Campbell, of New Brighton, who took third with a time of 19:23, while Marianne Abdalah, of Vincentian Academy, took fourth with a time of 19:26 and Tina Capparell, of Marion Catholic, rounded out fifth place with a time of 19:26. Lilly Myers, of Fairview (19:31), Emms Seifried, of Sacred Heart (19:35), Jeanne Lauer, of Shady Side Academy (19:36), Abbie Anaya, of Union City (19:37) and Lindsey Lytle, of Fairfield (19:39) finished out the top 10 runners.

In Class AA, Villa Maria took the state title with a final score of 107, followed by Quaker Valley with a score of 133, Danville with a score of 139 and Central Cambria with a score of 177. Northern York and Scranton Prep tied for fifth with a score of 206.

Green Castle Antrim’s Taryn Parks took the individual title with a time of 18:56, while Marlee Striper, of Northern York, placed second with a time of 19:00, Rebecca Synder, of Oley Valley, took third with a time of 19:13, Kayla Connelly, of Lansdale Catholic, placed fourth with a time of 19:18 and Emily Deschler — from Allentown Central Catholic — rounded out the top five with a time of 19:18. Maddie McLain, of Eastern York (19:19), Rebecca Bierly, of Penns Valley, (19:20), Mica Hanish, of Ambridge (19:22), Savanna Carr, of Franklin, (19:24) and Carlee Constable, of Villa Maria, (19:29) finished out the top 10 individuals.

In Class AAA, State College finished fourth with a score of 189 — a step up from last year’s fifth place.

“Fourth place in the PIAA state meet,” Lady Little Lions coach Rebecca Donaghue said. “We’re very excited about that. It was a tight battle between the top-five teams. We just got too many points.”

Cardinal O’Hara finished first with a total of 107, while Oakland Catholic finished second with 146 and Perkiomen Valley finished with a final score of 164. North Penn finished the top-5 teams with a score of 190.

“The competition was really tough this year,” Donaghue said. “We were ahead of North Penn by one point, which shows you that every point matters.”

For the Lady Little Lions, Gabriella Bock led the pack, securing 22nd place with a time of 19:40. Catherine Curtain (20:07) followed at 35th, Cailin Saylor (20:11) finished at 39th, Haley Garvin (20:38) took 56th place, Julia Neely (21:15) finished at 86th place and Elly Haushalter rounded out the scoring for State College at 96th place with a time of 21:41.

“(Bock) did an outstanding job by leading the team,” Donaghue said. “She ran an incredible race and incredible time and led us to that fourth place. We were just very, very strong in that last mile of the race, which is where we won the race.”

Individually, Ailsinn Devlin took the title for Downington West wth her time of 17:44. Clara Savchik of North Alleghany finished second with her time of 17:46, Allinson Willingmyre, of Wilson, secured third with her time of 18:23, Annie Glodek, of Perikomen Valley, took fourth with her time of 18:32 and Katie Dammer — of Abington Heights — placed fifth with her time of 18:34.

Lauren Finikiotis, of Oakland Catholic, (18:36), Jamie Zamrin, of Cocalico (18:42), Ariana Gardizy, of North Penn (18:47), and Abby Yourkavitch, of Chambersburg (18:48), rounded out the top 10.

“We see a big future with this team,” Donaghue said. “We have a young team. Our two alternates are right there — a freshman and a sophomore — ready to go. After that, there’s another group that’s keeping everyone on their toes. This is the deepest team we’ve ever had.”

“We’re going to go for the win,” Donaghue said of next year’s goals. “We were going for it today, but we’ll take fourth. Next year, we’ll be really shooting for that (win) again.”


Local runners have strong showing

Winchester Thurston (62), Dallas (96) and Council Rock (76) each took their respective Class A, AA and AAA PIAA state titles on Saturday at Hershey.

In Class A, Elk County Catholic (110), Seneca (115), Northeast Bradford (123) and Montrose (129) rounded out the top five teams, while Noah Curtain from Mercyhurst Prep took the individual title with his time of 16:23. Donovan Myers, of Seneca (16:26), Tristan Forsythe, of Winchester Thurston, (16:33), Ryan Thrush, of Brookeville, (16:39) and Connor Walsh, of Cambridge, (16:41) followed Curtain through the top five, while Forsythe’s teammate Ben Littmann placed just outside at sixth with his time of 16:42.

Zachary Wortman, of Elk County Catholic, (16:46), Tim Kennel, of Christopher Dock, (16:51), Ben Heim, of Washington, (16:55) and Griffin Mackey, of Sewickley Academy, (16:57) finished out the top 10. Penns Valley athletes Chris Colwell (17:03), Mark Bierly (17:26), Sam Gray (17:55), Charlie Romig (18:44), Stephen Gover (19:27), Hadem Stamm (21:07) and Everett VanHeyst (21:46) took places 13, 20, 34, 69, 94, 117 and 120, respectively. St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy had Michael Peters (17:44) and Isaac Hyman (18:58) place 53rd and 148th, respectively.

In Class AA, York Suburban (116), South Fayette (122), Harbor Creek (171) and Quaker Valley (180) finished the top-five teams, while Ben Bumgarner, of Waynesburg Central, took the individual title with a time of 16:01. Zach Skolnekovich, of Quaker Valley, (16:13), Isaac Davis, of Jersey Shore, (16:26), Aaron Pfeil, of South Fayette (16:28) and David Haines, of North Pocono, (16:36) rounded out the top-5.

While Bellefonte’s Brett Pope took 108th with a time of 18:07, Sam Snodgress, of South Fayette, (16:37), Jack Zardecki, of Dallas (16:41), Bryce Ohl, of York Suburban, (16:46), Max Freyermuth, of Knoch, (16:47) and Quinn Serfass, of Loyalsock Area, (16:48) finished the top-10 individuals.

Following Council Rock for the Class AAA top-five teams were Carlise with 118, Downington West with 158, Seneca Valley with 202 and LaSalle College with 204.

Noah Affolder, of Carlisle, took the individual title with his time of 15:33. Nathan Henderson, of J.P. McCaskey, (15:48), Affolder’s teammate Sam Affolder (15:50), Zach Lefever, of Ephrata, (15:59) and Noah Beveridge, of Butler, (15:59) rounded out the top five. Connor McMenamin, of Souderton, (16:00), Ryan Campbell, of Council Rock (16:01), Ryan James, of Cardinal O’Hara, (16:04), Mark Provenzo, of Franklin Regional, (16:09) and Rusty Kujdych, of Neshaminy, (16:14) finished the top-10 individuals.

State College finished seventh overall with a total of 237 points.

“This was an amazing year,” Little Lions’ coach Dave Felice said. “As a coaching staff, we had discussions and we were kind of analyzing all the teams. If we could make the top 10, it would be a really great showing. We ended up seventh, so we were really pleased with that. It exceeded our expectations.”

Felice said he saw a great team effort. Nick Feffer finished 11th with a time of 16:14, Owen Ishman finished 27th with a time of 16:55, Owen Wing finished 44th with a time of 17:06, Thomas Branstetter, finished 61st with a time of 17:19, Sam Horn finished 99th with a time of 17:59, David Wong finished 101st with a time of 18:00 and Joe Messner finished 119th with a time of 18:34.

“It’s really gave a lot of encouragement in that a lot of hard work pays off,” Felice said. “Going forward, we have big shoes to fill. We’re just looking to bring up our younger brothers.”

“Bottom line,” Felice said. “The future looks really positive.”