Brownsville’s Jolena Quarzo joins elite company as 3-time WPIAL cross country champ

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Thursday, October 27, 2022 | 10:11 PM


Brownsville senior Jolena Quarzo became the 12th girl to win three WPIAL cross country titles when she won the Class 2A race Thursday at Roadman Park at Cal (Pa.).

Latrobe’s Natalie Bower (Toman) and Vincentian’s Marianna Abdallah are the only four-time winners. Bower won from 2005-2008 in Class 3A and Abdallah won from 2013-16 in Class A.

“It means a lot to win it my third time,” Quarzo said. “I dropped a lot of time from last year. The course conditions were a lot different, but honestly, I was a little shocked by my time. I wasn’t expecting it because this is such a hard course.”

The three-time champions are Mia Cochran (Moon), Brianna Schwartz (Shaler), Lauren Bricker (Hempfield), Chrissy Schneider (Hempfield), Julie Hamilton (Neshannock), Kristine Stoehr (Richland), Jenna Bartolomeo (Ellwood City), Maxine Markfield (Quaker Valley) and Kacey Gibson (Neshannock).

Quarzo’s sister Gionna was the 2018 champion.

And while Quarzo has dominated the WPIAL in cross country, she has yet to win PIAA gold in the event.

“If I win, that would be awesome,” Quarzo said. “I’m hoping for top 3.”

Her winning time was 18:12.7. Montour’s Harley Kletz was second in 18:39.2 and Uniontown’s Hope Trimmer was third in 19:13.4.

Montour won its second consecutive team title by outscoring Beaver, 57-91. Uniontown was third with a 108.

Class 3A

Mt. Lebanon’s Logan St. John Kletter said after winning the Tri-State Track Coaches Association meet on Oct. 20 that she expected a tough battle at the WPIALs from Pine-Richland’s Natalie McLean.

“We’ve gone back and forth this season,” St. John Kletter said.

But St. John Kletter used that win a week ago to propel her to the WPIAL Class 3A. Her winning time was 18:22.3.

McLean followed in a time of 18:33.0 and St. John Kletter’s teammate Caroline Adams was third in 18:39.2.

“This is amazing,” St. John Kletter said. “I was injured all of last year and my time was a lot faster this season. I got a little bit scared at the beginning because I was hanging with the pack, but after we got up the hill, that’s where things started to break up.

“I made my move in the last mile and gave it all I had. I gave it my all.”

North Allegheny girls continued their dominance by winning their fifth consecutive title and 16th overall.

The Tigers outscored Mt. Lebanon, 39-107. Pine-Richland was third with 155.

North Allegheny had four runners finish in the top 8. Its fifth runner was 14th.

Class A

Chelsea Hartman has been through a lot in her first three cross country seasons with health concerns prior to her freshman year and stress fractures in her feet last year.

But the Shady Side Academy junior battled through all that was thrown her way, and Thursday, she stood tall as a WPIAL champion.

Hartman bested the Class A girls field in a time of 19:29.1, nearly 30 seconds faster than Riverside junior Lexi Fluharty (19:59.4).

“This is amazing,” Hartman said. “I came out here and (a WPIAL title) was my goal. Nothing is ever set in stone, and I realized that coming in. It was really important not to doubt my opponents because they raced a really good race today, too. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I wanted to give it my all.”

The top four teams and top 20 individual finishers not on one of the top four teams qualified for the PIAA championships next week in Hershey. That equated to the top 30 overall finishers punching tickets to states.

Winchester Thurston, last week’s Tri-State Coaches champion, claimed its first WPIAL title with 58 points. Senior Cyd Kennard led the way for Winchester in fifth (20:58.7).

Also earning trips to states were last year’s Class A champion and this year’s runner-up, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (94 points), Riverview (111 points), and Shady Side Academy (119 points).

Mohawk, WPIAL and PIAA runner-up last year, did not have enough runners compete to earn a team score. Junior Natalie Lape, 25th individually last year and third at Tri-States this year, was not able to run because of injury.

Eden Christian sophomore Hope Haring (20:37.8) and Aquinas Academy junior Alexis Abbett (20:44) finished third and fourth.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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