After last-minute test result, Moon’s Mia Cochran defends WPIAL Class AAA cross country title

Friday, October 30, 2020 | 5:58 PM

Mia Cochran almost didn’t get a chance to defend her WPIAL Class AAA girls cross country title.

Twenty minutes before her race began Friday afternoon, the Moon junior runner learned her covid-19 test was negative, providing relief after a few stressful hours of waiting.

Moon’s high and middle schools will be closed for about a week after someone from the high school tested positive for covid-19, Superintendent Barry Balaski announced Thursday.

That put Cochran’s quest for a WPIAL title in question.

Once the race started, however, the winner was never in question. She opened a 50-yard lead at the first mile marker and never looked back.

Cochran finished in 17 minutes, 46 seconds, to claim her second WPIAL title at White Oak Park.

“All morning we had to get the proper paperwork filed before I could run,” Cochran said. “Everyone was telling us, ‘It’s OK, you’ll be able to run.’ It was very stressful. I was absolutely surprised I ran so well.”

Once the race began, Cochran was in her own element as she maneuvered over the muddy terrain.

“It’s hard when no one is pushing you,” she said. “I was just happy I got the chance to run.”

Bethel Park freshman Jenna Lang placed second in 18:22. North Allegheny senior Keeley Misutka, who won the Tri-State Track Coaches Association meet a week ago, finished third in 18:27. The senior also led North Allegheny to its third consecutive team title, edging Pine-Richland, 67-98.

Pine-Richland junior Meredith Price was fourth and

Miller was pleased with her first WPIAL finish. She’s looking forward to a chance to run at the PIAA championship Nov. 7 in Hershey.

The top 10 individuals and the winning team advanced to the state championship meet.

“I’m very pumped,” Miller said. “I knew conditions would be messy and hard. I’ve been trying to break 19:00 all season, and it was exciting. Overall, it was a great race, and I had so much fun.”

Joining Misutka among North Allegheny’s top runners were freshman Eva Kynaston (eighth), junior Maura Mlecko (14th), sophomore Alexa Sundgren (16th) and sophomore Mazzie Standish (26th). Junior Rachel Hockenberry (45th) and freshman Erin McGoey (54th) also competed.

Also qualifying for the state meet was Fox Chapel freshman Laura Carter (sixth).

The boys race also was far from a photo finish.

Butler junior C.J. Singleton ran away with boys Class AAA title with an impressive time of 15:50. His teammate, junior Sage Vavro, was second in 16:03, and Seneca Valley junior Noah Petersen was third in 16:06.

North Allegheny junior Scott Nalepa, who was fourth in 16:09, helped lead the Tigers to a third consecutive title. North Allegheny finished with 40 points and Butler had 81.

Norwin senior Alex Jubert was fifth in 16:21.

It was the third time Singleton has placed in the meet.

He placed fifth in the Class A race in 2018 when he ran at St. Joseph and was 13th in 2019 for Butler.

“I wanted to run up front because it was really muddy,” Singleton said. “I slipped a couple of times. I just wanted to keep people out of my way.

“This means everything. I’ve been dreaming of being a champion since I was in seventh grade.”

Singleton said winning last week at the Tri-State Track Coaches Association meet helped him prepare.

“The course was definitely wet, but this is Western Pennsylvania and a lot of courses are going to be wet. So I’m used to it.”

Singleton said having his teammate push him throughout the race and at practice has made him better.

“We’ve been battling since middle school,” Singleton said. “It means a lot having him there pushing me.”

North Allegheny had five finishers in the top 15. Joining Nalepa were junior Graham Wolfe (sixth), sophomore Gregory Kossuth (seventh), senior Andrew Kollitz (ninth) and junior Jackson Hinkel (14th). Freshman Michael Gaunter (18th) and senior Connor Foody (20th) also ran well for the Tigers.

“I was really pleased with the overall performance of the teams,” North Allegheny coach John Neff said. “The kids were great. They came together this year. We really saw in the spring that they wanted to do this.

“This was a high-pressure meet. We had to perform, and now we get a chance to compete in the state meet.”

Others qualifying for the PIAA meet were Seneca Valley sophomore Eli DeWitt (eighth), Mt. Lebanon senior Barak Asher (10th), Pine-Richland senior Victor Williams (11th), Latrobe senior Dante Frescura (12th), South Fayette sophomore Jake Borgesi (13th) and Butler senior Skyler Vavro (15th).

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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