Girl Power Prevails
With a share of the Northern Tier League championship on the line, Wyalusing Valley’s Arielle Kneller outlasted Wellsboro’s Denae Ingerick for the deciding points, giving the Lady Rams a sweep over the Lady Hornets and host Towanda on Oct. 11.
All three teams entered the final night of league competition tied with Northeast Bradford with one loss each.
When the dust settled on a highly competitive meet, the Lady Rams claimed a piece of the league crown with a 27-28 win over Wellsboro and a nearly as nail-biting 27-31 win over Towanda. Northeast Bradford swept its home meet with Cowanesque Valley, Troy and Canton to claim the other half of the title.
“We knew the meet would be close like that with one or two points difference,” Wyalusing coach Jim Schools said.
“We talked about it at a team meeting last night and told them to focus on the goals and who they had to run with,” Schools added.
“It was a 100 percent team effort.”
Erika Huffman did what she had to do, leading from start to finish in 21:35, a full minute ahead of Towanda’s Katelin Purdy.
Two more Towanda runners—Destiny Foster (22:36) and Dani Zatkos (24:05)—and a pair of Wellsboro runners—Charlotte Worthington (23:23) and Randi Grim (24:25)—finished ahead of Wyalusing’s next finisher, Pam Kelley, who ran a 24:59.
Wellsboro’s Annie Sweeney finished ahead of Wyalusing’s Mackenzie Martin. Sweeney ran a 25:06, while Martin finished in 26:10.
Savannah Schools followed her teammate across the line in 26:17.
After Wellsboro’s Baylee Mann crossed in 27:12, it came down to Kneller and Ingerick.
Down the final stretch on Towanda’s track, Ingerick hung off Kneller’s right shoulder and it appeared on at least one occasion she may have pulled slightly ahead.
But Kneller held on and nipped Ingerick at the line. Both runners finished in 27:26.
When asked what was going through her mind on the final charge to the line, Kneller admitted it was tough.
“I think I’m going to die,” she answered. “I never sprinted that fast before.”
Schools felt the key to Kneller’s race was the effort she put in on the final brutal uphill climb to a tree above the finish line at the track.
“She made a nice move coming down the hill,” Schools said. “I was glad to see the competitive spark kick in.”
Kneller admitted it took a lot to make that run.
“That one hill by the tree was the worst,” she said.
Schools acknowledged later that Kneller and Kelley were both running with sore hips. In addition, Martin became ill on the course.
“They gutted it out,” he said.
Other Wyalusing finishers included Carlyn Edsell (28:59) and Emily Edwards (29:31).
When the season began, Schools thought his squad could contend for its first title since 1999 in the evenly-matched NTL.
But after a couple of rough outings at early-season invitationals, he began to have his doubts. But the team prevailed, posting an 8-1 record in the league.
“To finish with just one loss is great,” he said.
The boys’ team completed a 5-4 campaign, splitting Tuesday’s meet. Wyalusing defeated Towanda, 26-30, but lost to Wellsboro, 22-33.
Towanda’s Aaron Valoroso was the overall race winner in 18:05. Wellsboro’s Bob Owlett was second in 18:39.
Wyalusing’s Tyler Sutton finished fourth, overall, in 19:05, followed by his teammate, Aaron Woodruff, in 19:13.
Other times included Brenten Gerould (20:06), Matt Woodruff (20:18), Mark Kusmierz (20:20), Mitchell Pickett (20:57), Cody Pickett (22:22), Jordan Schools (23:14), Dominic Ciccolini (24:29) and Brian Sanger (24:48).
The team is idle until the NTL Coaches’ Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 22.
Cowanesque Quad Meet
At Cowanesque, on Oct. 5, both Wyalusing teams defeated Mansfield and Cowanesque Valley and lost to Northeast Bradford.
In the boy’s race, Wyalusing downed the host Indians, 17-38, and defeated Mansfield, 15-50. Northeast Bradford held off the Rams, 24-31.
Northeast Bradford’s Curtis Jewett was the race winner with a time of 15:53. His teammate, Sam Williams, was second in 16:09.
Wyalusing’s Tyler Sutton and Aaron Woodruff were third and fourth, respectively. Sutton ran a 16:49, while Woodruff finished in 16:52.
After the Panthers’ Brandon Devonshire (17:10) and Derick Allabaugh (17:22) crossed the line, Wyalusing’s Gerould (17:32) and Kusmierz (17:59) finished.
Two Cowanesque Valley runners finished ahead of Wyalusing’s Matt Woodruff (18:23). Northeast Bradford’s Ben Horton clinched the win for the Panthers, finishing 13 seconds behind Woodruff.
Other Wyalusing times included Cody Pickett (19:38), Schools (20:06), David Cornelius (20:42), Ciccolini (20:43) and Sanger (21:01).
For Northeast Bradford, other results included Cole Beckwith (19:07), Brighten Carrington (19:19), Gabriel Carrington (19:27) and Mason Merrell (21:59).
In the girls’ meet, Wyalusing defeated Mansfield, 19-40, and Cowanesque Valley, 19-46. Northeast Bradford handed the Lady Rams their first loss of the year, 23-32.
Wyalusing’s Huffman was the overall race winner in a time of 19:11, beating Mansfield’s Violet Learn, the defending District Four champion, by 40 seconds.
After Cowanesque’s Kari Lampman crossed the line in third, Northeast Bradford had three runners—Kayla Darling (21:17), Alyssa Turner (21:37) and Chelsea Souto (21:44)—finish next.
Wyalusing’s Martin was next in 22:08, with Northeast Bradford’s Cara Gerould 12 seconds back. Kelley followed Gerould across the line for the Lady Rams in 22:40.
Maddy Johnson was Northeast Bradford’s fifth runner in a time of 22:46, edging out Wyalusing’s Schools (22:50) and Kneller (23:27).
Other Wyalusing times included Logan Steele (25:18), Carlyn Edsell (26:04) and Emily Edwards (26:06).
Northeast Bradford times included Allison Bonin (23:43), Maddy Milnes (26:22), Haylie Phillips (26:57), Katie Allen (28:19) and Alyson Middaugh (32:11).