Harriers Set Sights on Hershey
Area high school cross country fans will notice a lot of familiar faces in the four race fields at the PIAA champions at Parkview Cross Country Course in Hershey on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Wyalusing Valley’s Erika Huffman and Tyler Sutton will be in the Class AA girls’ and boys’ races, respectively.
The Elk Lake girls’ team, led by two-time individual state medalist Maria Trowbridge, hopes to defend the PIAA Class AA team title it won last year.
Elk Lake’s Luke Jones will be seeking his second straight Class AA medal.
For Sutton, a senior, who finally qualified for states after just missing the field the past two years, it will be a unique experience.
“I watched it when (Taylor) Woznicki made it. I watched it when Stephan (Tewksbury) made it,” he said. “I’ll be taking somebody down to watch me this year.
“I’ve had a great season and hopefully I can continue it at states.”
Huffman, a junior, who enters her first PIAA championship race, is the District Four Class AA champion.
While Huffman has to be considered a medal contender based on last Thursday’s performance, she won’t be solely focused on the race this weekend.
“I’m excited (about going to states), but I’m going to miss my Dad’s football game,” she said.
Her father is Jim Huffman, head coach of the Wyalusing football team, which meets arch-rival Towanda Friday night in the annual Bronze Helmet Game.
The Elk Lake girls’ team is hoping history will repeat itself from the 2010 post-season.
Last year, Holy Redeemer claimed the District Two title over the Lady Warriors on Elk Lake’s own course. At Hershey, Elk Lake reversed the tables, winning the Class AA title.
On Oct. 26, Holy Redeemer again won the District Two crown with Elk Lake finishing second to also earn a spot in Hershey.
Besides Trowbridge, a senior who finished ninth in Hershey as a sophomore and sixth last year, the Lady Warriors roster includes senior Abby Zdancewicz; juniors Lainey Bedell, Kellie Grosvenor, Kirsten Hollister and Emily Williams; sophomore Alayna Doolittle and freshman Jenny VanEtten.
VanEtten was the highest finishing Elk Lake runner in the District Two meet, when several team members encountered some physical issues during the race.
Bedell, who was Elk Lake’s second runner in the district meet, is looking forward to the chance to defend the state title.
“It would be awesome, especially the way we raced today,” Bedell said. “We want to prove to ourselves that we can still run good and finish strong.”
Jones, who took home an individual medal with his 17th-place finish while running with the state championship team last year, is on his own this year.
He welcomes the challenge.
“I’m really excited to see how I can do this year,” said the Elk Lake junior.
In the girls’ AA race, there will be a large number of Northern Tier League competitors including Troy’s Casey Norton; Mansfield’s Violet Learn; Towanda’s Destiny Foster and Katelin Purdy; Sayre’s Katie Hurley and Wellsboro’s Charlotte Worthington.
The Northeast Bradford team finished second in the district meet and will race as a team. The members are Kayla Darling, Cara Gerould, Chelsie Souto, Allison Bonin, Alyssa Turner, Madison Johnson, Katie Allen and Madalynn Milnes.
Athens’ Paige Bennett will compete in the Class AAA race.
For the NTL boys, three individuals will join Sutton in the Class AA field—Northeast Bradford’s Curt Jewett and Sam Williams and Towanda’s Aaron Valoroso.
Sullivan County’s Kelby Mullen and Brian Smith also qualified for the state meet.
Wellsboro and Canton will take their full teams to Hershey as the District Four champion and runner-up squads.
For Wellsboro, the squad includes Jordan Jackson, Bob Owlett, Joe Doganiero, Garrett Webster, Bobby Hill, Derek Morgan, Drew Patrick and Cory Coolidge.
Canton’s team includes Eddie Larcom, Emmett Watson, Brooks Gleckner, Darren Killian, Brennan Gleckner, Andrew Moody, Zach Pettigrew and Dylan Marbaker.
Athens’ Matt Millard and Tunkhannock’s Jake Siegel will be in the boys’ Class AAAA field.
The top 25 runners and top-two team members in each race will receive medals. The top two teams in each race receive trophies.
Action begins at Parkview Country Course, which is located adjacent to Hershey’s Giant Center, at 9:30 a.m. with the girls’ AA race. The girls’ AAA race is set for 10:30 a.m., followed by the boys’ AA race at 11:30 a.m. and the boys’ AAA race at 12:30 a.m.