Freshman Marianne Abdalah of Vincentian Wins PIAA X-Country Girls A Title

Saturday, November 2, 2013 | 10:33 PM

The field of runners in the PIAA Class A girls cross-country championship race Saturday got some Royal treatment. But they couldn’t have liked it.

Youth was served when Marianne Abdalah, a freshman for the Vincentian Academy Royals, ran away from the field and won the Class A title in Hershey. Abdalah won with a time of 18 minutes, 24 seconds and the next closest finisher was almost one minute behind.

The win capped off quite a first year of high school cross country for Abdalah. She also won the WPIAL title a few weeks ago and emerged as one of the top runners in the area, no matter the classification. She was the only WPIAL athlete to win a PIAA title.

“I knew coming into this season that I really had nothing to lose because there were a bunch of people set to be good,” Abdalah said. “I knew not be nervous. I think I always thought about maybe winning state championships but I knew I would have to trust my coach [Dan Carlino] and gradually progress through the season. And I think I did that.

“Coming into the [PIAA] meet and looking at the rankings, I thought I had a pretty good shot. All I needed to do was believe in myself.”

It turned out Abdalah’s closest competitor also was from the WPIAL. Avonworth’s Beth Shenck was second, but almost a minute behind at 19:20.

The other WPIAL runner who came closest to a PIAA title was West Allegheny’s Alexis O’Shea, who finished third in the Class AA girls race with a time of 19:22. Also in Class AA, Uniontown’s Julie Gerber was 12th.

In Class AAA girls, star Shaler runner Brianna Schwartz finished fifth after winning the WPIAL title last week with a course record time. Schwartz was third at the PIAA meet a year ago.

Mount Lebanon’s Kelsey Potts was fourth at the PIAA AAA meet and teammate Jillian Hunsberger seventh. Mt. Lebanon finished in the team standings.

In Class AAA boys, the Martin twins from Fox Chapel emerged as two of three top finishers from the WPIAL. Colin Martin was sixth while Ethan was 17th. Central Catholic’s Jeff Van Kooten finished 15th. The North Allegheny boys were second in the team standings behind West Chester Henderson.

In Class AA boys, Uniontown’s Nate Erdenfield placed fourth and Waynesburg’s Sean Hilverding was two spots behind at sixth. Quaker Valley freshman Zach Skolnekovich was 12th.

In Class A, South Side Beaver’s Colten was the top WPIAL finisher in 10th place. D’Heaven Kelley of Washington was 12th



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