Moon’s Mia Cochran runs to 3rd straight WPIAL cross country crown

Thursday, October 28, 2021 | 8:50 PM

Mia Cochran trains with the Moon boys cross country team.

That was the reason the first thought on her mind after crossing the finish line Thursday was concern for one of her training partners who had a medical issue following the boys race.

“I believe he’ll be OK,” Cochran said after she had no issues winning her third consecutive WPIAL title at the Roadman Park course at Cal (Pa.).

Cochran breezed to the Class 3A title by maneuvering around the slippery and muddy course in 18 minutes, 18.6 seconds. She won by more than 30 seconds over Mt. Lebanon sophomore Logan St. John Kletter (18:48.3).

“The race was definitely rough,” Cochran said. “Coming down the hill, there was no traction. Going up the hill, there was no traction. Nothing went perfect. Pretty much just trying to get through it and run well through what was given and make the best out of it.”

North Allegheny, which won the team title with 49 points, had three of the next four finishers. Freshman Wren Kucler, who won the Tri-State Track Coaches Association title at Cal on Oct. 21, was third. Sophomore Eva Kynaston was fourth and freshman Robin Kucler was sixth.

Kiski Area sophomore Eliza Miller was fifth and Bethel Park sophomore Jenna Lang was seventh.

“It’s just amazing to be a three-time champion, being here and competing against some of the top girls in the state,” Cochran said. “The WPIAL has a lot of good young runners.”

Pine-Richland finished second with 135 points and Mt. Lebanon was third with 193 points. It was North Allegheny’s eighth overall title and fourth in a row.

Miller’s goal was try to stay with Cochran early and she did. She achieved her goal of placing in the top five. Now she wants to earn a medal at the PIAA championship Nov. 6 in Hershey.

“The race was a little more iffy than I thought it would be out there,” Miller said. “I wanted to place this year in the top five and I did. It was the same as last year. My race didn’t go as well as it did last week because the course was real muddy.

“It was difficult on the downhills, but I’m pleased. I definitely want to medal at states this year because I didn’t last year. That’s my biggest goal.”

Class 2A girls

Jolena Quarzo was the hunted Thursday as the defending girls Class 2A champion.

But the Brownsville junior didn’t let any pressure get to her as she captured her second straight WPIAL gold medal with a winning time of 19:04.1.

“I knew it was going to be a tough race because of all these amazing girls and this tough course being wet,” said Quarzo, who was 35 seconds clear of the field, including runner-up Harley Kletz, a junior from Montour.

“This means a lot. It was tough, but it was really good. I wasn’t too happy with my pace, but I knew since it was muddy, it would be a lot slower today. It’s kind of what I expected it to be.”

Quarzo won last year at White Oak Park.

“The White Oak course, in my opinion, is a lot easier,” she said. “(Cal) to me is more of a cross country course, what you expect to see when you hear ‘cross country course.’ It’s nice to win it back to back, but it’s two totally different courses.”

She now will turn her attention to the PIAA meet next week in Hershey and shoot for a state title after finishing second there a year ago.

“This (Cal) course isn’t exactly like states, but it’s close enough being two hard courses,” Quarzo said.

The top three teams in Class 2A advanced to states Nov. 6 in Hershey. Also, the top 15 individuals not on one of the state-qualifying teams also punched their tickets to the PIAA meet.

Montour, with four runners in the top 10 — Kletz, senior Alex Fleck in fifth, sophomore Lakyn Schaltenbrand in sixth and senior Sophia Trevenen in eighth — captured the girls Class 2A team title with 54 points.

Chartiers Valley (104) and Beaver (132) placed second and third, respectively.

Class A girls

In her final WPIAL cross country race, Corinn Brewer wouldn’t let anyone take away her goal of capturing championship gold.

The Greensburg Central Catholic senior, second in the Class A girls race last year, brought home the title with a time of 21:17.8.

“This is really special,” Brewer said in the moments after her WPIAL-winning race.

“It’s still not even setting in my head that I won, probably because I wasn’t in the lead until the very last part of the race. Even knowing that I am not going to college for cross country, I am going for pole vault and heptathalon, so knowing I could win this is really special to me.”

In a tight pack at the finish line, Brewer bested runner-up Lydia Valeriano, a senior from Northgate, by two seconds.

The top four were separated by four seconds.

“I am not really that good at hills, especially in races, but I know I have the track speed, determination and heart which I needed for this race especially,” Brewer said.

“I was seventh up until about 600 meters to go, and then I started to kick it. I was able to give myself enough time to pass everyone with my track speed at the end.”

The top four teams advanced to states Nov. 6 in Hershey.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, led by individual third-place finisher in senior Audrey Wrabley, a senior, placed its top four runners 20th or better, captured the team title with 79 points.

Mohawk (101 points) was second, followed by Winchester Thurston (120) and Avonworth (148).

Also, the top 20 individuals not on one of the state-qualifying teams also punched their tickets to the PIAA meet.

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