Big finish for Eden Christian boys cross country team at WPIALs
Friday, November 1, 2019 | 6:37 PM
Eden Christian Academy cross country coach Kelly Gronbeck screamed herself hoarse watching three of her runners finish in the top 20 in the WPIAL Class A boys cross country championship meet Oct. 24 at Cal (Pa.).
Senior Eric Gronbeck, Kelly’s son (17 minutes, 17 seconds), freshman Sean Aiken (17:58) and senior Wesley Rodu (18:09) placed fourth, 12th and 16th, respectively. The trio helped the Warriors to third place, which tied for their best finish in the meet.
They also were third last season.
Eric Gronbeck, of Pine, achieved the Warriors’ best individual finish since Carter Smith won in 2013.
“My voice still (is) a little hoarse,” said Kelly Gronbeck, in her seventh season at the helm.
The Warriors, who went 8-0 in Division II, Section 2 for their first section title, qualified for the PIAA championship Nov. 2 in Hershey. Results were not available before this edition’s deadline.
Rodu, of Leetsdale, was pleased with how the Warriors did.
“Punching our tickets to states in one of the most competitive districts was no small feat,” he said. “I’m really proud of the team for pulling it off.
“Everyone had a great race and left it all on the course.”
Freshman AJ Wagstaff, sophomore Ian Bilger, sophomore Brandon Gunzburg and freshman Noah Reaoch also competed.
The Warrior girls dropped to 12th place from fifth last season after losing their top runner, Emma Steele, a freshman on the Gannon women’s team.
Junior Katelyn Shaver, junior Caeley Scherer, freshman Lauren Lomago, sophomore Shealyn Blaney and juniors Caitlin Steele, Katie Kirby and Taylor Haring ran.
Quaker Valley saw three of its runners earn medals in the WPIAL Class AA championships and make it to the PIAA meet.
Senior Annie Wicker (20:01) and sophomore Anna Cohen (21:11) came in fourth and 15th in the girls race, and senior Daniel Ford (17:22) was ninth in the boys.
Wicker failed to earn her third consecutive WPIAL title.
“I was pretty disappointed, but it is nice to look back on the other three years, especially my sophomore- and junior-year races,” Wicker said.
The Quaker boys placed 13th.
Joining Ford in the lineup were junior Nicolas Pascarella, freshman Luke Hotchkiss, senior Bobby Patterson and juniors William Kirk, Owen Wagner and Nico Guild.
“The team wanted to qualify for states, but we knew each of our runners would need to have a PR to do so, and it didn’t work out,” Quakers coach Jim Cohen said.
The Sewickley Academy boys came in 20th in the WPIAL Class A championship.
Junior Matthew Meakem, senior Samuel Rampelt, junior Zachary Rampelt, senior Joe Wyche, sophomore Leo Farmerie and seniors Ben Madison and Cooper Cheng competed.
“(We) achieved our goal of everyone being under 30 (minutes),” Panthers coach Derek Chimner said. “It was especially satisfying to see our (No. 6) runner, Ben Madison, who has put a ton of work into being part of the WPIAL team, (make) a difference breaking the tie with Bishop Canevin to secure us a top-20 finish.”
Sophomore Maddie Wren, the only Panther in the girls race, came back from an injury to compete.
“While it wasn’t her PR for the season, she put in an excellent effort after missing so much time,” Chimner said.