Greensburg Salem sees girls team, 2 boys qualify for states at WPIAL cross country meet
Thursday, October 24, 2019 | 7:53 PM
Greensburg Salem cross country coach Nathan Snider couldn’t ask for a better effort from his girls team Thursday at the WPIAL championships at Cal (Pa.).
The Golden Lions finished second to South Fayette in the Class AA race and qualified for the state meet for the second consecutive season. The PIAA championships are Nov. 2 in Hershey.
South Fayette finished with 51 points, Greensburg Salem 111 and Knoch 131.
“I knew we couldn’t beat South Fayette,” Snider said. “They are top three in the state. But I knew if we could do the best we could and had a good run we’d be in the mix. It was exciting.”
Greensburg Salem had three runners — senior Jamie Tanto, sophomore Natalie DiCriscio and senior Maria Scarpa — finish in the top 17 overall.
“That was probably as good as we could do up front,” Snider said. “Really all the way down, one through five, but the top three puts us in a good position.”
Tanto was ninth (20 minutes, 56 seconds), DiCriscio was 14th (21:10) and Scarpa was 17th (21:17). The other two who helped the team qualify were senior Joula Anderson, who was 32rd (22:40), and junior Brenna Slezak, who was 51st (23:49). Sophomores Hannah Messer and Lilly Kosoglow helped displace runners.
“It took all five of us and even the others to finish second,” Tanto said. “This was huge. It’s an amazing feeling what we achieved. This course is not easy.”
As happy as Snider was for the girls, he was equally disappointed that the boys team didn’t a chance to defend its Class AA state title. Instead, junior Quintin Gatons and senior Noah Calisti are heading to Hershey for the individual championships.
Gatons placed 11th with a time of 17:28 and Calisti placed 17th with a time of 17:44.
“I’m happy for the boys, but they’ll probably tell you they wish the entire team would have qualified,” Snider said. “Both did very well. It’s not that the team ran poorly. We just got beat and that happens.”
Gatons said qualifying for the state meet means more to him.
“I ran pretty well, but I should have been a few spots higher,” Gatons said. “Hopefully I’ll run better in Hershey.”
Calisti said making it as an individual his senior season means a lot.
“It’s something I’ve been working hard to achieve since I started to run,” Calisti said. “It was a close battle and I was able to hang on ant the end.”
Snider said sophomore Jacob Smith ran a phenomenal race and just missed qualifying. He ran an 18:11 and placed 28th.
Brownsville senior Gionna Quarzo won the Class AA girls race and her freshman sister, Jolena, was second. It was the first time Gionna Quarzo defeated Quaker Valley senior Annie Wicker, who won in 2017 and 2018. Quarzo is a WPIAL and PIAA champion on the track.
Two Belle Vernon runners qualified for the state meet. They were junior Grace Henderson, who was sixth in 20:42, and freshman Viva Kreis, who was 12th with a time of 21:08.
It wasn’t a good day for Greensburg Central Catholic sophomore Corinn Brewer in the Class A race.
She qualified for the state tournament, but probably ran the worst race of her high school career, finishing 11th with a time of 21:31. She placed third in 20:22 last year.
After the race, she and numerous other runners were treated in the medical tent. At least one runner was taken to the hospital.
“The course was muddy and it was warmer than expected,” Brewer said. “I’m trying to take the positives from this race. I know I’ll bounce back.”
Brewer said she knew it wasn’t going to be her day by the first mile and it was a struggle just to finish.
“My chest started to hurt and my shoulders started to tighten and when that happens, it’s not going to be good,” Brewer said.
The Class A winner was OLSH senior Haley Hamilton, who won in 2017. Last year’s winner, Shenango junior Carmen Medvit, started too quickly and wasn’t able to finish.
North Catholic sophomore Alaina Hicks was second and teammate Julie Zalenski was third.
Vincentian Academy was the team champion with 104 points and OLSH was next with 112. It was their fifth consecutive title.
In Class AAA, two Latrobe girls advanced to the state meet. Sophomore Lexie Planinsek placed 22nd with a time of 20:39, and senior Rachel Harter placed 26th in 20:48.
The winner was Moon sophomore Mia Cochran, who ran an 18:14. North Allegheny senior Hannah Lindgren was second, running an 18:59, and Bethel Park junior Emily Carter was third at 19:04.
The team title went to North Allegheny with 42 points. Seneca Valley was second with 89 points and Upper St. Clair was third with 122.
The Class AA winner was Beaver junior Will Lamb, who edged out Ringgold junior Lucas Pajak.
The team title went to New Castle with 80 points. South Fayette was second with 94 and Indiana won a tiebreaker for third over Ringgold with 116.
Norwin and Latrobe each had a runner advance to states in Class AAA.
Knights junior Alex Jubert ran a 17:16 to finish 17th, and Wildcats junior Joseph Hill ran a 17:21 to finish 22nd.
Mt. Lebanon senior Patrick Anderson won the race in 15:41. North Allegheny senior Daniel McGoey ran a 15:58 and finished second.
North Allegheny scored 66 points to take home the team title. Butler was next with 88, and Seneca Valley was third with 163 points.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .