Riverview cross country caps season with 2nd-place finish at PIAA meet

Saturday, November 11, 2023 | 11:01 AM

An award-winning season for the Riverview boys cross country team ended with silver medals and a runner-up trophy at the PIAA Class A championships Nov. 4 on Hershey’s Parkview course.

It was the second podium finish for the Raiders in five years. The 2019 squad, led by Mason Ochs, Gideon Deasy, Parker Steele, Ty Laughlin and Lucas Wilton, also placed second.

The finish also was Riverview’s fourth in the top five in the past five years. The Raiders finished second at WPIALs in 2020, but because of covid logistics and limitations, only the WPIAL champion that year — Winchester Thurston — ran at Hershey.

At this year’s state meet, the Raiders were second (137 team place points) only to District 3 champion Annville-Cleona (91 points).

Riverview was led by individual medalist Christopher Barnes (22nd, 17 minutes, 16 seconds). He was the fifth different Raiders boys runner to medal at states in the last eight years.

The time spread between the first and fifth Riverview runner was 58 seconds, a number which impressed coach Palma Ostrowski.

The Raiders were 11th after the first mile and then moved up 104 points to get into contention in mile two.

“I was so proud of our boys and how they battled,” she said.

“We stressed all week not to go out too fast so that we would have energy for the aloha hills during the middle of the race. I was worried we stressed it too much because the boys were pretty far back at the mile. But Micah (Ivy), Ashton (Saunders) and Cohen (Hoolahan) really came through, cumulatively moving up 85 team points in that second mile.”

Holden Deasy followed Barnes, finishing 39th in 17:39. Ivy, Saunders and Hoolahan rounded out the top five.

Braden Longstreth and Levi Roupas were the sixth and seventh runners for the Raiders, who only lose Hoolahan to graduation from the group.

The WPIAL placed all four of its Class A boys teams in the top seven. Eden Christian was third, Winchester Thurston was fourth, and Ellwood City was seventh.

Riverview girls

The Raiders girls team followed up a runner-up finish at WPIALs with a 13th place in Hershey.

It was four places better than their 17th at states in 2022.

Riverview collected 309 team place points, 18 away from the top 10. WPIAL champion Winchester Thurston was third overall (190), and Mohawk was eighth (261).

Everyone was chasing PIAA champion Elk County Catholic which tallied a low of 63 points.

Junior Lily Bauer, running at her third state meet in as many years, fronted the Riverview girls in 67th (21:56). She ran 54 seconds faster than last year and was 15th among WPIAL qualifiers.

Bauer took 12th at WPIALs on Oct. 26 at White Oak Park.

Grace Johnson, Gwyn Fichte, Hannah Hudack, Lily Hood, Riley Russell and Rosa Lascola rounded out the top seven Riverview finishers.

Hudack and Hood ran the 9:30 a.m. race about 12 hours after competing with the Riverview girls soccer team in the WPIAL Class A championship match at Highmark Stadium.

Fichte and Russell are the two seniors from the top seven to move on because of graduation.

Fichte also ran her third state-meet race, and she is one of 14 Riverview girls runners to accomplish that in school history.

Gabriel Powell

Plum senior Gabriel Powell made his PIAA debut and ran the Hershey Parkview Course in 17:00 to place 59th overall in boys Class 3A.

Powell said he was able to block out the emotions of it being his final high school race and competed as best he could.

“I was in the moment and just preparing to run,” he said.

“Not making states before this year, it was a big deal for me. I wasn’t sure how it was going to all play out. The (Hershey) course was tough to navigate at times. I didn’t get either of the goals I had in mind (16:10 or a medal), but the competition was so advanced.

“I am proud of what I accomplished as a senior and all four years (of cross country). My time dropped so much from when I started as a freshman. I am definitely looking forward to the next seasons (indoor and outdoor track).”

Powell made up three spots in the final kilometer. He also was 27 seconds away from a top-25 individual medal.

“We did the pre-meet work on the course the day before, and he knew this was the hardest course he would run all season,” Plum coach Steph Kennedy said.

“He was initially disappointed with the 59th because of how well he did at WPIALs. He really wanted that state medal. But his finish and how he ran against so many talented competitors, it was still a huge accomplishment. After a while, I think he came to be proud of that.”

Powell survived the qualifier crunch in boys Class 3A at WPIALs at White Oak Park on Oct. 26.

Only 10 individuals not on one of the top two qualifying teams earned berths to states.

He made the most of his WPIAL run in an experienced and competitive field, leading the Mustangs boys in seventh overall in a time of 16:17.7, a 26-second improvement from his finish at the Tri-State Championship on the same White Oak course a week earlier.

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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