Riverview runners finish 5th at PIAA championships

Sunday, November 13, 2022 | 11:01 AM

The WPIAL represented itself well in the PIAA Class A boys cross country championship meet in Hershey on Nov. 5.

All four qualifying teams, including Riverview, were near the top of the standings. Winchester Thurston was third, followed by Eden Christian, the Raiders in fifth, and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart sixth.

The Riverview boys, fronted by the medal-winning performance of senior Amberson Bauer, finished with 164 team points in its seventh PIAA appearance in the past eight years.

It was their third top-five finish in four years and their fifth top-10 finish in the last six years. The team was not able to run at states in 2020 despite a runner-up place at WPIALs. Because of covid logistics, the PIAA only took the district team champions.

District 6’s Central Cambria won the title with 95 points, followed by District 1 power Jenkintown (108), Winchester Thurston (141), and Eden Christian (146).

“The boys performed at a high level all year, so I was very pleased that they were able to have one more good race to place top five,” Riverview coach Palma Ostrowski said.

Bauer, fourth at WPIALs, took 21st individually on the hilly course with a time of 17 minutes, 58.6 seconds. He was in the low 20s as he passed each distance marker.

“It was a special effort from Amby to add a cross country medal to his individual state track medal, especially coming off an (strained hip) injury,” Ostrowski said.

Bauer now is the sixth Raiders runner to earn a state cross country medal since 2000. He also is the first Riverview distance runner in school history to earn individual state medals in both track and cross country.

Bauer placed third in the 800 meters at the 2022 Class 2A track championships in Shippensburg.

Sophomore Chris Barnes took 29th (18:11) and missed a top-25 medal by seven seconds. He finished 68 places better than last year.

“Chris was so close to a medal, similar to his brother Ben’s 27th-place finish as a sophomore in 2015,” Ostrowski said.

“Hopefully, like his brother, he can go back next year and get on the podium.”

Also running for the Riverview boys was junior Cohen Hoolahan (59th, 18:43) who improved 100 places from his 2021 performance.

Sophomore Micah Ivy (94th, 19:09) and senior Jack Betler (108th, 19:18) ran at states for the first time. Sophomore Holden Deasy (139th, 19:44) was nursing an injury, and senior Luke Migely (158th, 20:02) completed the scoring for the Raiders.

Deasy and Migely were the top No. 6 and No. 7 finishers out of all the teams in the Class A boys’ race.

“With four underclassmen (boys) in the top six, we are already looking forward to trying to get back to take another step next year,” Ostrowski said.

“I was really proud of both teams.”

On the girls’ side, sophomore Lily Bauer and junior Gwyn Fichte made returns to states after competing individually there last year and helped the team placed 17th out of 23 in their first PIAA appearance since 2018. There are 201 schools in Class A statewide.

Bauer led the way in 81st (22:50), 40 places better than last year.

After that, the Riverview runners were packed tightly with Fichte (170th, 25:08), freshman Grace Johnson (174th, 25:21), juniors Jonisha Carlino (189th, 25:42) and Riley Russell (192nd, 25:45), freshman Rose Lascola (198th, 25:48) and senior Sarah Sullivan (218th, 27:05) contributing to the team effort.

“For the girls, it was all about gaining experience running in a state meet as our top six are underclassmen and will return next year,” Ostrowski said.

“Lily’s improvement was a nice step in her young career.”

Riverview was one of six schools from the WPIAL to have both its boys and girls team run in Hershey.

The Raiders team qualifications mark the 17th and 18th trips to states over the past 20 years.

That ranks fourth among WPIAL schools behind North Allegheny Quaker Valley and Mt. Lebanon.

One final run

Connor Pivirotto received a second chance to run in his first PIAA cross country race, and the Plum senior finished 101st overall (17:52.5) in the Class 3A boys event.

With senior teammates Nate Mienke watching on, Pivirotto was 141st after the first mile before making his move and improving his place at each distance marker.

It was an emotional final week for Pivirotto who though his senior season had concluded at WPIALs with a 20th-place finish in 17:23.5.

He was the 11th individual finisher not on one of the two qualifying teams. The PIAA this year only took the top 10 individuals from WPIAL Class 3A boys.

But Pivirotto had new life when Moon senior Jacob Puhalla, who finished seventh at WPIALs, scratched out of the state cross country meet in favor of the Tigers boys’ soccer team which played for a WPIAL title that day.

“It’s been an interesting season with him,” Plum coach Steph Kennedy said. “It was a roller coaster with being the first out and then finding out he was in. When he finished 101st, his initial reaction was ‘Of course’ with him being one off of the top 100. But it was a light-hearted reaction. He wasn’t disappointed by any means. As a coaching staff, we were super happy with that. He just kept getting stronger throughout his race and kept moving up. He had a really nice kick, and his finish was awesome. It was a super tough course. Coming down the stretch, he was passing 10 to 15 kids.”

Pivirotto was the 13th WPIAL finisher.

“Being on that huge stage at the state meet for the first time as a senior, there was a lot that could’ve been overwhelming, but he didn’t let any of those doubts that he may or may not have had stop him.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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