Mt. Lebanon’s Patrick Anderson leads trio of area cross country state champions
Saturday, November 2, 2019 | 8:42 PM
HERSHEY — Mount Lebanon senior Patrick Anderson said it’s not easy to win back-to-back cross country titles.
“I’ve gone into every race this season knowing there was a target on my back,” Anderson said after winning his second consecutive PIAA Class AAA title Saturday at the cross country state championships at the Parkview Course. He finished in 15 minutes, 25 seconds, his fastest time of the season.
“There was pressure all season long. Being state champion last year, every race I went in extra focused to make sure that wasn’t going to get to me. Every race I went into with that focus, and every race I came out with a win.”
Anderson jumped out quickly and forced the rest of the field to chase him. North Allegheny senior Daniel McGoey was second in 15:50.
Anderson wasn’t the only WPIAL champion to take first. Moon sophomore Mia Cochran won the girls Class AAA title, and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart senior Haley Hamilton took the Class A title.
North Allegheny won the girls Class AAA team title for the second consecutive year. The Tigers finished with 137 points and State College 152.
Hamilton captured the Class A title in 19:20.
Wilmington junior Grace Mason edged Greensburg Central Catholic sophomore Corinn Brewer for second place. Mason ran a 19:38 and Brewer a 19:41. Brewer was awarded third on a photo finish as she nipped Elk Lake sophomore Krista Jones, who also ran a 19:41.
Brewer, who struggled at the WPIAL championships, bounced back on the tough Hershey course.
“I wasn’t feeling as confident coming into this race after what happened at WPIALs. I just wanted to get redemption and push myself and run to the best of my abilities,” Brewer said. “I had a good week of practice, and I knew I was ready and I knew I could do it. I just needed to push myself to work those up hills and down hills.”
In Class AA boys, Indiana senior Kendall Branan was the top WPIAL finisher at ninth. Ringgold junior Lucas Pajak was 16th, Blackhawk senior Jack Aulbach 18th, Greensburg Salem junior Quintin Gatons 20th, Indiana junior Joel Beckwith 21st and Quaker Valley senior Daniel Ford 22nd.
Gatons was pleased with his finish because when he hit the mile mark, he was in 70th place.
“The race was decided between the 1- and 2-mile mark,” Gatons said. “I kept moving up, and I was pleased and happy how it ended. I gave it my all.”
Gatons was part of the 2018 winning Class AA team from Greensburg Salem.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .