4 runners looking to defend WPIAL cross country titles
Wednesday, October 25, 2023 | 2:00 PM
Butler senior Drew Griffith set a course record during the Tri-State Coaches Association cross country championship a week ago at White Oak Park.
And with weather conditions expected to be almost perfect Thursday, Griffith could be on track for another record performance.
The WPIAL championship meet returns to White Oak Park after being run there in 2020. Cal (Pa.) held the previous two championships. Griffith won the 2022 title in Class 3A after teammate C.J. Singleton won in 2020 and 2021. Griffith is among four returning champions in the six scheduled races.
“(It was) my first time on this course, and it was pretty fun,” Griffith said after the meet last week.
The North Allegheny boys are the reigning PIAA Class 3A champions and returned three runners: junior Jack Bertram, senior James Behrend and senior Michael Gaunter.
In Class 2A, South Fayette has another strong team with five starters back: juniors Alaa-Eddine Guetari, Tim Danziger, Josh O’Korn, Brandt Scholar and Ryan O’Neill.
The Hampton boys also will be in contention behind seniors Dale Hall, Jacob Bonnar and Layne Haught and junior Christopher Belch, and Montour will challenge with a strong lineup of five returning starters, including seniors Julian Kletz and A.J. Miller.
Ringgold senior Ryan Pajak will be looking for his third WPIAL title after he finished second in the state in 2022.
The North Allegheny girls are favored again to defend their WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A titles.
The Tigers are led by juniors Wren Kucler and Robin Kucler and seniors Eva Kynaston and Erin McGoey. Kynaston and Robin Kucler finished second and third, respectively, at the Tri-State meet, with McGoey in fifth.
Mt. Lebanon and Norwin also return strong squads. The Blue Devils are led by seniors Caroline Adams and Logan St. John Kletter. St. John Kletter is the returning WPIAL Class 3A champion and also won the Tri-State meet last week.
“It’s a good confidence boost, but I ran here at Bald Eagle (Invitational) two weeks ago. I ran a little bit faster there, so, hopefully, for WPIALs I can get a (personal record) here,” Kletter said at the Tri-State meet.
Two-time reigning champion Montour and Beaver are expected to battle for the Class 2A girls team title.
The Spartans return four starters: seniors Lakyn Schaltenbrand and Amelia Trevensen, sophomore Tiffany Miller and junior Joelle Ludwick. The Bobcats return five starters: juniors Danica Purtell and Rylie Teapole, senior Allison Tate and sophomores Constantina Krzeczowski and Camdyn Jeffers.
Chartiers Valley junior Lilah Turnbull is one of the top individuals returning in Class 2A. She placed eighth in the state last year. Also back are West Allegheny sophomore Grace Fritzman and Woodland Hills sophomore Annabel Johnson. Fritzman won last week at White Oak.
In Class A, Shady Side Academy senior Chelsea Hartman, who finished second in the state, is the reigning WPIAL champion.
Advancing to the PIAA meet Nov. 4 in Hershey will be the top four teams in Class A boys and girls and 2A boys, the; top three teams in 3A girls and 2A girls and to two teams for 3A boys.
For individuals, the top 20 finishers not on one of the qualifying teams advance in Class A boys and girls and 2A boys. The top 15 qualify for 3A girls and 2A girls, and the top 10 move on for 3A boys.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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