Mt. Lebanon’s Logan St. John Kletter wins 2nd WPIAL girls cross country title

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Thursday, October 26, 2023 | 8:47 PM


Mt. Lebanon senior Logan St. John Kletter was a little surprised that Kiski Area senior Eliza Miller went out fast.

But she knew she had to run with her if she wanted to win her second consecutive WPIAL Class 3A cross country title.

St. John Kletter settled in to the fast pace, took control of the race around the 2-mile mark, and outkicked the North Allegheny duo of Robin Kucler and Eva Kynaston to the finish line.

St. John Kletter finished the race in 17 minutes, 47.40 seconds. Kucler followed in 17:53.60 and Kynaston came in at 17:56.30. Miller ended up fourth at 18:04.00, and North Allegheny’s Erin McGoey was fifth at 18:36.40.

“This means a lot, just to be able to repeat,” St. John Kletter said. “I didn’t expect Eliza to go out that quickly. I was trying to hold back, but it was difficult to do that because she went out so fast.”

St. John Kletter said she’ll continue to work hard and her goal is to win a state title.

“I won’t go out as fast at states,” she said. “I finished 10th last year, and I hope to win it.”

Rounding out the top 10 were Bethel Park’s Jenna Lang, Latrobe’s Emerson Skatell, Penn-Trafford’s Amelia Barilla, Peters Township’s Sydney Stock and Mt. Lebanon’s Caroline Adams.

Miller said she started fast so she could stay with the top girls.

“I tried to stay with her halfway through the race, and then I tried to hold on at the last mile but my legs were a little dead,” Miller said. “I believe I did go out faster than usual. It was different than I’m used to because I’m use to surging in the middle. Overall, I’m pretty happy.”

It was her best finish in the WPIAL.

Skatell finished strong despite falling early in the race. She wiped out during one of the sharp turns.

“I’m pleased how I finished because I fell at the beginning,” Skatell said. “At one point I was in 16th place, and to battle back and come in seventh, I’m pretty happy. I just got up and kept going.”

North Allegheny’s girls made it a sweep in the team competition, joining the boys as team champions.

The Tigers, who were missing one of their top runners, Gwen Kucler, finished with 62 points. Mt. Lebanon finished second with 144 points, and Norwin placed third with 148. The Knights and Peters Township finished with 148 points, but the Knights’ sixth and seventh runners were better that the Indians’.

The Tigers have won six consecutive titles and 17 all-time.

Norwin girls qualified by running in a pack. Leading the way was sophomore Annie Czajkowski (17th). The other runners were Julia Walko (31st), Addison Farrah (32nd), Rosemary Gaydos (33rd), Jillian Ryba (35th), Anna Dansak (38th) and Audra Fedor (47th).

Latrobe junior Carly Berk finished 21st and qualified for states.

Class 2A girls

With six WPIAL champions crowned, there was a certain amount of excitement for each race throughout Thursday, but none was more suspenseful that then Class 2A girls event.

The race was a four-way battle between Woodland Hills’ Annabel Johnson, North Catholic’s Madeline Meeuf, West Allegheny’s Grace Fritzman and Uniontown’s Grace Trimmer.

Making one last push around the final turn, it was Meeuf who pulled away to win her first WPIAL title with a time of 19:01.1. The sophomore’s win also helped North Catholic take the team title.

“This was the best race I’ve had,” Meeuf said. “I never had that much adrenaline and never progressed that much in the second half of my race.”

Meeuf beat out a fellow sophomore, Fritzman, by 3 seconds. Trimmer (19:05.6) and Johnson (19:08.3) followed.

For Meeuf, it was all about her mentality coming out of the final hill.

“When I was coming up the hill, my coach was saying that I had the chance to win if I pulled ahead, and as soon as I got to the top of the hill, I remembered from Tri-State’s I wasn’t pushing myself enough,” she said. “I told myself, only about a quarter-mile left, just got to give it all I had.

“As soon as we were going back around the tents, I saw all my teammates screaming and jumping, and I knew I could pull ahead and win it.”

North Catholic’s 80 points earned the Trojans the team title as Montour (99) and Uniontown (131) also advanced to the PIAA championships.

“As I crossed the finish line, I was just so excited that I knew all the work we had put in throughout the entire season paid off,” Meeuf said. “Whenever I saw my team jump up on the first place on that board, my excitement shot up even higher.”

Class A

Riverside senior Lexi Fluharty slept on the bus during her two-hour ride from Ellwood City.

But she was wide awake when she ran in the Class A championship.

Before Thursday, Fluharty hadn’t beaten Shady Side Academy senior Chelsea Hartman. She picked a great race to end that drought.

“I knew I was the underdog,” Fluharty said. “No one picked me to win. I can completely understand why. She had beaten me all of the time. But I knew I still had fight and that I could beat her. I went after it and got it.”

Fluharty pulled away during the final mile to shock the field. Her winning time was 18:54.50, and Hartman was 19:16.90.

“Once I got to the hill, my plan was to go, and it worked. I’m so thankful,” Fluharty said. “I thought there was no way in the world I’d be a WPIAL champion my freshman year and to become one now means the world to me.”

Hartman said Fluharty ran a great race.

“I was feeling pretty strong,” Hartman said. “I didn’t run quite as well as I hoped at Tri-States last week. So I was working to do a little better, but it just wasn’t my day.

“When I hit 2 miles, I fell off. I don’t know what happens. The past few races, I seem to fall off between the 2- mile and 2-and-a-half mile mark, and I don’t know why.”

Alexis Abbett of Aquinas Academy was third followed by OLSH’s Gianna Mosca, Eden Christian’s Hope Haring, Seton LaSalle’s Danielle Tomley, Mohawk’s Natalie Hope, Trinity Christian’s Teresa Conway-Phillips, Ligonier Valley’s Clara Wallace and Winchester Thurston’s Abigail Weinstein.

Mohawk won the team title with 127 points, edging Riverview’s 128. Winchester Thurston placed third with 128 points, but Riverview’s sixth runner finished higher.

Lily Bauer was Riverview’s top runner, finishing 12th. The other Riverview runners were Grace Johnson (23rd), Gwyn Fichte (34th), Hannah Hudack (45th), Rosa Lascola (51st), Lily Hood (57th) and Jonisha Carlino (59th).

Other local runners to qualify were Apollo-Ridge senior Sienna Jackson (31st) and Ligonier Valley junior Gabby Palmer (32nd).

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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