Greensburg Salem runners look to end on high note at state cross country meet

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Friday, November 5, 2021 | 5:37 PM


Greensburg Salem’s boys cross country team has built a tradition under coach Nathan Snider.

The Golden Lions were WPIAL Class 2A champions in 2016, 2018 and 2020 and PIAA champions in 2018.

During that time, numerous individuals have contributed to the team’s success.

While the Golden Lions aren’t in contention for a state team title in 2021, three individuals are looking to make a mark Saturday at the PIAA Cross Country Championships at the Hershey Parkview Cross Country Course.

Junior Aaron Tressler, who placed eighth at the WPIAL meet on Oct. 28, and seniors Charles Johnson (11th) and Jacob Smith (21st) are vying for medals.

The trio helped the Golden Lions win the Division 1, Section 1 title.

“It feels good to qualify for the state championship,” Tressler said. “I did what I could to make it there. It’s been a tough season. Last year, I went has a team member. I’m looking to do better at states.”

Johnson said he had a rough start to the season.

“I had an injury and I was sick, which limited my training,” Johnson said. “Making it to states, it feels good. Placing was a big deal. I’d like to think I can make top 25 and earn a medal. We’ll see.”

Smith, who was the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association champion, said he’s been looking forward to the PIAA race.

“This is my final year. I’m glad I finally qualified,” Smith said. “I just missed out my sophomore season. To qualify as an individual is very special for me. I’m happy I’m going to Hershey with Aaron and Charles.”

Snider said getting the three runners to Hershey was the goal.

“It’s tough to get three individuals from your own team in,” Snider said. “I was a little worried we wouldn’t get all three in, and then you’re leaving someone home. It was a great way for them to end their season.

“They carried us through for a section title. It’s nice to see them finish it off. Hopefully they’ll be able to sneak into the top 25.”

Moon’s Mia Cochran is looking to capture her third consecutive Class 3A title, while the North Allegheny boys and girls will be in the running for team titles.

The other WPIAL individuals looking for PIAA gold are Greensburg Central Catholic senior Corinn Brewer (Class A girls), Brownsville junior Jolena Quarzo (Class 2A girls), Eden Christian Academy junior Sean Aiken (Class A boys), Ringgold junior Ryan Pajak (Class 2A boys) and Butler senior C.J. Singleton (Class 3A boys).

PIAA Cross Country Championship

When: Saturday

Where: Hershey Parkview cross country course

Times: Class A girls: 9:30 a.m.; Class 2A girls: 10:15 a.m.; Class 3 girls: 11 a.m.; Class A boys 11:45 a.m.; Class 2A boys 12:30 p.m.; Class 3A boys 1:15 p.m.

WPIAL champions: Class A girls: Corinn Brewer, Greensburg Central Catholic; Class 2A girls: Jolena Quarzo, Brownsville; Class 3A girls: Mia Cochran, Moon; Class A boys: Sean Aiken, Eden Christian Academy; Class 2A boys: Ryan Pajak, Ringgold; Class 3A boys: C.J. Singleton, Butler.

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

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