GCC’s Corinn Brewer, Norwin’s Alex Jubert win county cross country titles

Thursday, October 15, 2020 | 6:04 PM

It was a battle between a wily veteran and an up-and-coming freshman at the Westmoreland County Cross Country meet Thursday.

Greensburg Central Catholic junior Corinn Brewer and Kiski Area freshman Eliza Miller led the field in the girls race at Westmoreland County Community College.

Miller set the pace, and Brewer kept on her shoulder for nearly three miles. Then Brewer, the returning champion, used her sprinter’s speed to pull away in the final 400 meters to win her third consecutive county meet in a time of 19 minutes, 7 seconds. Miller finished in 19:13.6, and Greensburg Salem’s Natalie DiCriscio was third in 20:03.2.

While the temperatures were good for running, the gusty 20 mph winds made it difficult.

“As the race went on, I tried to stick with her,” Brewer said. “She started to pull away a tiny bit, so I had to make sure she didn’t make the gap too big. I made a move at the top of the hill, and we were neck and neck, and then with 400 meters left, I got past her and pulled away.”

Brewer used her long stride to pull away. She said her time was OK. It was under 19 minutes last year.

“The strong wind forced the times up,” Brewer said. “I learned to stay strong the entire race because I’m going to have strong competitors. I need to know I can stick with them and I can stay strong.”

Miller said Brewer’s kick was the difference.

“The race was back and forth,” Miller said. “At the end, she took off. It was windy, and it kind of messed us up a little bit. Overall, I did well.”

Miller said her time was a personal record.

The Hempfield girls, who found out Wednesday they were allowed to compete even though other athletic teams at the school could not because of positive covid-19 tests, defended their title with 56 points. Kiski Area finished second with 70.

The Spartans runners were Lily Schmadel (eighth), Cydney Blahovec (ninth), Lily Murphy (10th), Kendra Winkleblech (11th) and Julia Snider (18th).

The other girls to finish in the top 10 were Latrobe’s Clara Herr (fourth), Kiski Area’s Lizeth Sesmas (fifth), Penn-Trafford’s Amelia Barilla (sixth) and Latrobe’s Lexie Planinsek (seventh).

The boys race started close, but Norwin senior Alex Jubert pulled away between the first and second mile and breezed to his first win in 16:22.2. Greensburg Salem senior Quintin Gatons was second in a time of 16:39.2, which helped the Golden Lions edge Latrobe, 48-49, for the team title.

Jubert wasn’t pleased with his race because he was looking for a sub-16 time. The wind prevented that.

“I was happy that I won, but I felt awful,” Jubert said. “I ran better at White Oak, and I felt fine after that. White Oak had a bigger hill than here.”

Jubert is finally having a healthy cross country season, so he’s grateful.

“If this virus wouldn’t have happened, I’d probably have a better season,” Jubert said. “If you’re going to have a bad race, I’d rather have it here than in two weeks. I’d like to make states.”

Gatons, too, was feeling 100%. He was able to stay with Jubert for a while before falling back.

While disappointed with his run, he was pleased that the team took the title.

“I think I did OK,” Gatons said. “I was with him for about a mile and a half, then I fell off. I was still able to hold on for second, so I’m happy for that.”

Latrobe’s Drew Kozuch and Dante Frescura were third and fourth, and Greensburg Salem’s Charles Johnson was fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Latrobe’s Joseph Hill (sixth), Penn-Trafford’s Patrick Driscoll (seventh), Greensburg Central Catholic’s Nick Szekely (eighth), Norwin’s John Dodaro (ninth) and Greensburg Salem’s Ethan Kelley (10th).

Others placing for the Golden Lions were Jacob Smith (11th) and Alex Tressler (20th).

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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