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Cross Country: Quality, quantity stand out at Kemp Memorial Stadium


LARRY DEKLINSKI/STAFF PHOTO Shamokin’s Chloe Yoder, left, and Grace Nazih lead a group of runners on a trail near the Shamokin Area Middle/High School during a cross country race consisting of five schools.

LARRY DEKLINSKI/STAFF PHOTO Shamokin’s Chloe Yoder, left, and Grace Nazih lead a group of runners on a trail near the Shamokin Area Middle/High School during a cross country race consisting of five schools.

COAL TOWNSHIP — If you like cross country (and who doesn’t?), Shamokin’s Kemp Memorial Stadium was the place to be Tuesday.

The Heartland Athletic Conference five-team meet featured two varsity and two junior high races, with a total of roughly 140 students competing.

But it wasn’t the quantity of competitors that made this meet fun. It was the absolute quality that made this meet stand out.

Between the boys and girls varsity races, there were at least seven returning state qualifiers, including the defending district AA champions in each race, one of whom didn’t win yesterday.

It all pointed up to a rebirth of the sport in the conference and district, to which Southern Columbia veteran coach Lanny Conner said, “The talent level in the PHAC has gone crazy. You may not have five runners who can compete with every team, but every school now has at least one or two.”

Milton junior Tyler Leeser, last year’s district runnerup, beat last year’s champ, Loyalsock’s Quinn Serfass, in the boys race by seven seconds, 16:27 to 16:34. Serfass was 10th and Leeser 11th at the state meet last season. Two other qualifiers, Loyalsock’s Ryan Sullivan and Southern Columbia’s Ethan Knoebel, were third and fourth, respectively.

How strong was the race? Central Mountain’s Corbin Green, a 10th-place finisher at last season’s District 6 AAA championships, took 14th in this race.

The girls race wasn’t as competitive, but only thanks to Loyalsock’s defending district champ Isabelle Sagar, won won in 19:14, a margin of 2:26 ahead of runnerup Haley Scopellitti of Southern Columbia, herself a two-time state qualifier.

As for team results, Loyalsock went 4-0 in both boys and girls, but in the latter case, it’s a little misleading. Loyalsock’s largest margin of victory in the girls race was eight points.

Southern Columbia and Shamokin were 2-2 and 1-3, respectively, in the boys competition, and 3-1 and 2-2 in the girls.

“Most regular meets don’t have this much competition,” Leeser said. “I knew it was going to be fun with Quinn and Ryan and Ethan. Districts will definitely be strong on the team front. It won’t only be one or two teams that have a chance to win (in each class),

LARRY DEKLINSKI/STAFF PHOTO Shamokin’s Abby Nye, foreground, and Jessa Paczkoski head downhill toward Kemp Memorial Stadium during a cross country race consisting of five schools. Nye and Paczkoski finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the race.

LARRY DEKLINSKI/STAFF PHOTO Shamokin’s Abby Nye, foreground, and Jessa Paczkoski head downhill toward Kemp Memorial Stadium during a cross country race consisting of five schools. Nye and Paczkoski finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the race.

it’s going to be five or six.”

Knoebel acknowledged how good both Leeser and Serfass are.

“I tried to run off Quinn and Tyler,” he said. “They’re not only two of the best runners in the district but two of the best in the state. My goal was just to try and stay with them. I knew when I saw the schedule that this was going to be one of the best dual meets.”

Making it more difficult was the fact that Shamokin’s course is a little different from most courses, in that it has a variety of terrain.

“I wasn’t sure which shoes to wear,” Knoebel said. “Most courses are just grass, then here you’re on a lot of asphalt, then the nature trail, and there are a few more hills.”

“I’m kind of glad it’s over,” Conner said. “We had this meet circled as a big one. You get so used to running on grass, running on grass, running on grass, then you come here and you’re on asphalt, and your feet are hitting the ground with two-and-a-half times the force of gravity. It makes a difference.”

Conner claimed the number of junior high programs in the conference has contributed to success at the varsity level. Shamokin Area head coach Tammy Nazih’s program is an example. Abby Nye, who also plays soccer in the fall, and Jessa Paczkoski, were fourth and fifth, respecitively, in the girls race, and Grace Nazih was 11th. In the boys race, Joey Olah was 11th and Joey Masser 19th.

“The year I started I think we had one girl and four boys on the varsity,” Nazih said. “Now we have 18 combined and the number is double in junior high.”

The Indians are also benefitting from sharing people with other soccer programs.

“We’ve worked out our practices with Todd (girls soccer coach Todd Nye) so that we go at different times, and we vary our practices to take it easy on the girls who are doing both sports.”

Shamokin’s junior boys were 4-0 and Southern Columbia’s girls 3-1.

Varsity boys

Milton 17, Shamokin 42

Southern Columbia 18, Shamokin 37

Shamokin 27, Central Mtn. 28

Loyalsock 16, Shamokin 45

Milton 24, Southern Columbia 31

Loyalsock 25, Milton 31

Milton

LARRY DEKLINSKI/STAFF PHOTO Shamokin’s Joey Masser keeps an eye on the next runner near the Shamokin Area Middle/High School during a cross country race consisting of five schools. Masser finished 19th.

LARRY DEKLINSKI/STAFF PHOTO Shamokin’s Joey Masser keeps an eye on the next runner near the Shamokin Area Middle/High School during a cross country race consisting of five schools. Masser finished 19th.

18, Central Mountain 41

Loyalsock 23, Southern Columbia 32

Southern Columbia 19, Central Mtn. 36

Loyalsock 15, Central Mtn. 45

Individuals

(Top 15 plus Shamokin, SCA runners)

1. Tyler Leeser, M, 16:27; 2. Quinton Fass, L, 16:34; 3. Ryan Sullivan, L, 17:23; 4. Ethan Knoeble, SC, 17:38; 5. Alejandro Quintana, L,17:42; 6. Nick Dorosky, M, 17:49; 7. Tanner Walter, M, 17:58; 8. Matt Nicholas, L, 18:10; 9. Brady Reese, SC, 18:11; 10. Kellan Guinn-Bailey, M, 18:29; 11. Joey Olah, Sh, 18:39; 12. Jake Petro, SC, 19:00; 16. Eli Yemzow, SC, 19:14; 18. Reese Houseknecht, SC, 19:23; 20. Joey Masser, Sh, 19:36; 22. Clif Zheng, Sh, 20:06; 28. Billy Delbaugh, Sh, 21:04; 29. Austin Bainbridge, Sh, 21:09; 33. George Zalar, Sh, 21:29; 36. Chase Derk, SC, 21:54; 37. Andrew Shultz, Sh, 22:06; 39. Chase Petro, SC, 23:00; 40. Jason Yeich, SC, 28:01; 45. Jacob Eschbach, Sh, 24:32; 45. Steven Carpenter, Sh, 24:32; 49. Caleb Noles, Sh, 25:43; 54. Brendan Janovich, Sh, 26:54; 55. Tyler Kalman, Sh, 27:10; 56. Brent Janovich, Sh, 27:27; 57. Steve Bartholomew, Sh, 33:33.

Varsity girls

Shamokin 25, Milton 32

Southern Columbia 27, Shamokin 29

Shamokin 26, Central Mtn. 29

Loyalsock 25, Shamokin 32

Southern Columbia 26, Milton 31

Loyalsock 25, Milton 32

Central Mtn. 25, Milton 30

Loyalsock 25, Southern Columbia 30

Southern Columbia 26, Central Mtn. 30

Loyalsock 25, Central Mountain 33

Individuals

(Top 15 plus Shamokin, SCA runners)

1. Isabelle Sagar, L, 19:14; 2. Haley Scopellitti, SC, 21:40; 3. Christina Lugg, CM, 22:06; 4. Abby Nye, Sh, 22:15; 5. Jessa Paczkowski, Sh, 22:21; 6. Elly Nesbit, CM, 22:25; 7. Deema Betzer, M, 22:36; 8. Callick Dyer, M, 23:07; 9. Mackenzie Rodarmel, L, 23:18; 10. Jamie Ellis, L, 23:33; 11. Grace Nazih, Sh, 23:52; 12. Ally Willhouse, SC, 23:53; 14. Kylee Danglovitch, SC, 24:00; 15. Megan Kendall, L, 24:03; 17. Grace Joseph, SC, 24:08; 22. Aubrey Shultz, Sh, 25:07; 24. Emma Steely, SC, 25:33; 25. Chloe Yoder, Sh, 25:41; 28. Carole Hinkle, Sh, 25:58; 29. Maryssa Erdman, Sh, 26:11; 30. Campbell Reck, SC, 26:20; 32. Cassie Sharrow, SC, 26:25; 33. Lauren Wagner, Sh, 26:33; 35. Natalie Ring, SC, 26:56; 36. Halle Cox, SC, 27:10; 37. Kelsey Wheary, SC, 27:14; 38. Kaitlyn Brunson, Sh, 27:19; 39. Bethany Bordell, Sh, 28:45; 40. Stacy Radomski, Sh, 28:52;

LARRY DEKLINSKI/STAFF PHOTO Milton’s Tyler Leeser, left, and Southern Columbia’s Ethan Knoebel run side-by-side on State Street in Coal Township, about half-way into a cross country race consisting of five schools, Tuesday around the campus of Shamokin Area School District.

LARRY DEKLINSKI/STAFF PHOTO Milton’s Tyler Leeser, left, and Southern Columbia’s Ethan Knoebel run side-by-side on State Street in Coal Township, about half-way into a cross country race consisting of five schools, Tuesday around the campus of Shamokin Area School District.

41. Lauren Rose, SC, 29:50; 43. Kirsten Dudanowicz, SC, 31:16; 44. Lindsey Kerstetter, SC, 32:15; 45. Emily Mezmi, SC, 34:44.

Jr. high boys

Shamokin 21, Milton 38

Shamokin 24, Southern Columbia 37

Shamokin 23, Central Mtn. 36

Shamokin 26, Loyalsock 31

Milton 25, Southern Columbia 30

Loyalsock 24, Milton 31

Milton 15, Central Mountain 50

Southern Columbia 24, Loyalsock 33

Southern Columbia 15, Central Mtn. 50

Loyalsock 15, Central Mtn. 50

Individual

(Top 10 plus Shamokin and SCA finishers)

1. Brody Bender, M, 11:13; 2. Geno Seratini, CM, 11:20; 3. Jason Ferrara, SC, 12:03; 4. Andrew Reed, Loy, 12:05; 5. Brian Osheski, Sh, 12:07; 6. Jimmy Bender, SC, 12:10; 7. Tyler Wescot, Lo, 12:14; 8. Joey Tarr, Sh, 12:15; 9. Joseph Eckbold, Sh, 12:26; 10. Evan Wells, CM, 12:27; 11. Wade Alleman, Sh, 12:27; 16. Devyn Erb, Sh, 13:24; 18. Carson Sutsky, Sh, 13:51; 19. Mitchell Knowles, Sh, 14:08; 20. Aidenn Sims, Sh, 14:19; 22. Jayden McKean, Sh, 14:30; 23. Elijah Madara, SC, 14:31; 24. Griffin Romania, SC, 14:39; 28. Mathias Eckbolt, Sh, 15:15; 30. Elijah Bashus, SC, 16:09; 31. Brock Dunkleberger, SC, 16:28; 32. Gavin Balchunas, Sh, 16:30; 33. Nathan Hoy, SC, 16:34; 38. Shain Yost, Sh, 19:38; 39. Jason Leiby, Sh, 19:57; 40. Brenden Rogers, Sh, 20:12; 42. Jacob Davis, 20:36; 44. Nick Chesney, SC, 22:12.

Junior high girls

Milton 19, Shamokin 42

Southern 24, Shamokin 31

Central Mtn. 27, Shamokin 29

Shamokin 27, Loyalsock 28

Milton 24, Southern Columbia 34

Milton 22, Central Mtn. 37

Southern Columbia 22, Loyalsock 34

Southern Columbia 27, Central Mtn. 30

Loyalsock 28, Central Mtn. 29

Milton 17, Loyalsock 42

Individual

(Top 10 plus Shamokin, SCA finishers)

1. Leah Walter, M, 12:37; 2. Emma East, M, 13:04; 3. Angel Wheeler, CM, 13:09; 4. Giania Dressler, CM, 13:12; 5. Jaedyn Brown, Sh, 13:19; 6. Colby Bernhard, SC, 13:37; 7. Annabell Reck, SC, 13:39; 8. Kianna Rocco, SC, 13:44; 9. Riley Murray, M, 13:44; 10. Morien Reiner, M, 13:46; 14. Maddy Lippay, Sh, 14:10; 18. Elle Lyons, SC, 14:41; 20. Sahar Snavely, Sh, 15:18; 21. Suzy Long, Sh, 15:19; 23. Emma Genners, SC (NT); 24. Kate Amato, Sh (NT); 25. Heather Cecco, SC (NT); 32. Cameron Steinhart, Sh, 16:39; 38. S. Rossnock, Sh, 17:23; 39. Payten Puttman, Sh, 17:36; 40. Cameron Kirkner, SC, 17:38; 56. Faith Carpenter, Sh, 24:54; 57. Grace Carpenter, Sh, 29:27.