Quaker Valley cross country teams accomplishing goals in postseason

Sunday, November 5, 2023 | 11:01 AM

It’s been a sweet season for the Quaker Valley boys cross country team.

The Quakers qualified as a team for the PIAA Class 2A race, which was set for Nov. 4 in Hershey.

“We know there are many strong teams in the 2A race of the PIAA championships, especially those from the WPIAL that qualified alongside our team,” QV coach Ryan Kelly said. “Based on times this year, our boys team will be pushing themselves to place in the top five in the 2A race.”

The QV runners secured third place with 129 team points at the WPIAL championships to qualify for the PIAA event. Hampton (59) and Beaver (119) finished first and second.

“I am extremely proud and appreciative of the team’s performance at the WPIAL championships, as they had been preparing for this race throughout our summer training and the regular season,” Kelly said. “This success was a testament to their hard work and determination.”

The Quakers were led by junior Clark LaLomia (16:26.6) in eighth place, sophomore Tyler Bell (16:39.7) in 13th, freshman Jonah Montagnese (17:12.8) in 26th, sophomore River Capek (17:27.5) in 36th and junior Jackson Pethel (17:44) in 46th.

“We are fortunate in that all of our runners have displayed noticeable improvement in the second half of the season,” Kelly said. “I would especially like to mention the continued improvements from junior Jackson Pethel, sophomore River Capek and freshman Jonah Montagnese.

“Jackson was injured during his freshman and sophomore seasons and having him healthy this season has been critical to our success. His leadership, particularly in leading by example during challenging workouts, is especially noteworthy.

“With River and Jonah, this was their first season running high school cross country. They have shown continued improvements not just with their times but in their understanding of running an effective race and being supportive teammates.

“Our boys team’s successes this season would not have been possible without the addition of River and Jonah to go along with the strength of our returning runners in Clark and Tyler, as well as a healthy Jackson.”

LaLomia’s PR this year is 15:35, accomplished Sept. 9 at the Red, White and Blue Classic. He was not a happy camper following the WPIAL championships.

“I’m not pleased with my individual performance,” LaLomia said. “I’ve run that course two other times this year where I ran 15:35 and 16:08, so to come into the WPIAL championships and run slower than I did in both of those other races isn’t exactly something I would personally celebrate. I feel that this time (16:26.6) does not accurately reflect my current fitness level and I know that I can run better.

“We placed third in the 2A (team) race. We had higher expectations going into the meet, which we did not accomplish. I feel that as a whole we could have performed much better and left a lot of room for improvement at the state meet.”

LaLomia noted that the PIAA boys field in Class 2A is a strong one and highly competitive.

“We are going to just compete and perform to the best of our abilities,” he said. “We have been extremely consistent with our training all year long and we are more than capable of running against any other team in the state. I am confident that we have the fitness to take a top three placement.”

Two other QV runners at the WPIAL meet were seniors Oliver Graham (18:31.9) and Matthew Cohen (18:45).

“Although we did not race the way we would have liked at the district meet, I am still extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish,” LaLomia said. “Even on what we consider to be one of our worst performances of the year, we were still able to take third and qualify for the PIAA race.

“It’s no one person’s fault that we underperformed. I know I personally could have run better, and I know that the others also feel that way about their own races, which I feel demonstrates our close bond as teammates and friends. There’s no other group of guys I would rather call my teammates, and I’m very excited to finish out the season at the state meet alongside them.”

The Quaker Valley girls team wrapped up seventh place in 2A in the WPIAL standings.

The Quakers’ top five runners were senior Ellie Cain (20:26.9) in 12th place, junior Cecilia Montagnese (21:04.2) in 24th, seniors Kate Hines (22:28.7) in 49th, Lizzie Szuba (23:01) in 70th and freshman Maggie Doz (24:05) in 92nd.

“The girls had a tremendous season as well,” Kelly said. “Each student-athlete on the team made substantial improvements throughout the season. They supported one another and were focused and committed to their training.

“Our girls were led by seniors Ellie Cain, Kate Hines and Lizzie Szuba, as well as junior Cecilia Montagnese. Their leadership was critical to our success.”

Cain qualified for the PIAA 2A girls finals off her performance at the WPIAL meet.

“I am very excited that I was able to make states for cross country and with my race overall,” Cain said. “I look forward to seeing what I can do at Hershey.

“Overall, I think I have had a pretty positive season. I have great coaches who put so much effort into ensuring the success of each person on our team. I also have amazing friends who are always there for me and are some of my biggest supporters.”

Cain, who also competes in track and field in the 400, 800, 1,600 and two relays, believes the QV girls cross country team had a truly dynamic season.

“I think the girls team this year was the strongest it has ever been,” she said. “We had a positive team dynamic, and each girl always made sure to try her hardest, which is why I believe we have had an overall very successful season.”

Two other girls who competed at the WPIAL finals for QV were Kate Steinfurth (24:55.6) and Kennedy O’Neill (25:46.8), both freshmen.

“We are excited for the future with Cecilia returning next season, along with sophomore Kendra Hines and a large freshmen class that is led by Maggie Doz, Kennedy O’Neill and Kate Steinfurth,” Kelly said. “They all contributed in major ways to our girls varsity team this season.”

One of the boys team’s goals was to qualify for the PIAA team championships, while the girls wanted to improve upon their results at the WPIAL finals.

“I am pleased to report that both teams were able to accomplish these goals,” Kelly said.


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