WVHS Harriers Prep for Districts
Wyalusing Valley’s cross country teams have traditionally approached the NTL Coaches’ Invitational as a final tune-up for the all-important District Four championships and this year was no exception.
Neither varsity squad finished high in the team standings with the girls finishing fourth and the boys fifth in the meet held at Northeast Bradford High School on Oct. 22.
But Wyalusing head coach Jim Schools wasn’t overly concerned.
“It obviously wasn’t our best effort with the girls for the season, but that’s okay,” he said.
“Our focus is on Thursday,” he said, referring to the district meet at Bloomsburg University. “We just used this as a workout.
“We did some hard workouts this week in preparation for Thursday.”
The girls’ team, which shared the regular-season NTL title with Northeast Bradford, finished with 95 points, trailing the Lady Panthers, who won the title with 79 points. Wyalusing came up short in a tight battle for the runner-up spot, won by Wellsboro with 87 points. Troy was third with 89. Towanda (100), Sayre (111), Athens (141) and Canton (170) rounded out the team standings.
Erika Huffman, who was undefeated during the league season, finished third in the race with a time of 20:13, trailing Troy’s Casey Norton and Towanda’s Destiny Foster across the line. Norton ran a 19:28, while Foster finished in 20:01.
Huffman, who slightly injured her ankle in the last league meet of the year, was just one of Wyalusing’s walking wounded.
“We wanted to test Erika’s ankle to see where it’s at,” Schools said. “A couple of other girls were banged up and we wanted to see where they were at. We have one or two girls sick.”
Pam Kelley finished 14th, overall, in a time of 21:45 for the Lady Rams. Mackenzie Martin was 24th in 22:57. Savannah Schools was two spots back of Martin, finishing in 23:21. Arielle Kneller was Wyalusing’s fifth runner, crossing 28th in 23:40.
Logan Steele finished 35th in 24:44 and Emily Edwards was 41st in 25:28.
Huffman admitted that she slightly tweaked her ankle again during the race. Her focus for the days leading up to the district meet is to heal as much as possible.
“I’m going to try and get it better for Thursday,” she said.
While the boys’ team finished fifth with 116 points, Schools was very happy with the overall effort.
“We had a nice pack,” he said. “We weren’t up in the front, but our one through five guys were pretty close together.”
Canton won the team title with 53 points, edging Wellsboro by five points. Northeast Bradford was third with 82 points, followed by Towanda with 114. Sayre finished behind Wyalusing with 120 points, followed by Athens (135) and Troy (158).
Northeast Bradford’s Curt Jewett was the overall race winner in 15:48, while his teammate Sam Williams was second in 15:57.
Tyler Sutton, a senior, who has just missed qualifying for the PIAA championships the past two seasons, used the race as a test to see which of the other NTL runners he should run with on Thursday. Two years ago, Sutton missed a trip to Hershey by two positions at the district meet. In 2010, he came up one place short of a state-qualifying finish.
He was Wyalusing’s top finisher, crossing 11th, overall, in 17:13.
“My goal was to be with Zack Despreaux of Troy and Wellsboro’s Bob Owlett,” Sutton said.
Owlett finished fifth in 16:54, while Despreaux was eighth in 17:07.
“That’s what I plan to do at districts is to be there with Zack and Owlett and stay with them and hopefully go to states.”
His coach thinks Sutton has a real shot of making states this year.
“For Tyler today, our goal was top ten and it was right there in front of him,” Schools said.
He noted that he believes one and possibly two NTL teams could qualify for Hershey, opening up a few more individual spots for Sutton Thursday.
Besides Sutton, the other Wyalusing boys ran well.
Mark Kusmierz was Wyalusing’s second runner, his best finish of the year, crossing 22nd, overall, in a time of 18:10.
Aaron Woodruff, Matt Woodruff and Brenten Gerould were 28th, 29th and 30th, respectively. Aaron Woodruff ran an 18:16, while Matt Woodruff finished in 18:19. Gerould crossed the line in 18:20.
Other places and times included Mitchell Pickett (39, 19:07), Cody Pickett (53, 19:52), Jordan Schools (61, 20:15) and Dom Ciccolini (64, 20:27).
“Markie stepped up and Matt Woodruff stepped up,” Schools said, noting that a couple of the boys, including Gerould, were fighting illness.
In the girls’ junior high race, Wellsboro won the team title with 31 points over Athens (41), Northeast Bradford (58) and Troy (108).
Northeast Bradford’s Lydia Werner was the overall race winner in 10:01.
Casey Host led Wyalusing, finishing 14th in 11:42. Other places and times included Megan McClelland (23, 12:11), Amanda Brown (37, 13:39) and Raigan Steele (44, 16:36).
In the boys’ junior high race, won by Northeast Bradford’s Levi Upham in 8:46, two Wyalusing runners competed.
Tracey Brown was seventh in 10:03 and Mitchell Schools finished tenth in 10:12.
Troy won the team title with 36 points, followed by Northeast Bradford (46), Athens (54) and Wellsboro (99).