Riverview runners set stage for WPIALs with strong Tri-State showing

Thursday, October 20, 2022 | 9:05 PM

Riverview cross country coach Palma Ostrowski walked away from the annual Tri-State Coaches Association Invitational pleased with the team’s performance.

The boys finished second to Winchester Thurston, 45-52, in Class A and the girls placed third behind Winchester Thurston and Mohawk on the difficult Cal (Pa.) course. Winchester Thurston edged Mohawk, 47-68. Riverview was third with 80.

“I would say that most coaches will tell you that they use this race to prep for the WPIAL championship next week,” Ostrowski said. “I’m very pleased how we ran. The boys came prepared and our No. 1 runner (Amberson Bauer) is a little nicked up and was out. The guys who ran competed very well.

“I’m pleased on the girls side because we are starting so many young girls who did a really good job on a course that they were unfamiliar with.”

Sophomore Holden Deasy paced the boys with a fifth-place finish. Sophomore Christopher Barnes placed seventh, sophomore Micah Ivy was 13th, senior Luke Migely was 15th and junior Cohen Hoolahan was 17th.

Senior Jack Betler was 19th and senior Christian Palochik was 22nd.

Leading the way for the girls was sophomore Lily Bauer with a 13th-place finish. Following her was junior Gwen Fichte (17th), freshman Rosa Lascola (23rd), freshman Grace Johnson (24th), Jonisha Carlino (28th) and junior Riley Russell (34th).

“Mission accomplished (today),” Ostrowski said. “We ran a really great race. I wanted the guys to get comfortable on the course for next week.”

Back-to-back for Griffith

Butler junior Drew Griffith was hoping to set the course record at Cal (Pa.).

He thought he missed the mark by five seconds.

Well, he was mistaken. He broke the course record by nine seconds after he ran a 15:32.56 in the Class 3A race. The record of 15:41 was held by Mt. Lebanon’s Patrick Anderson. The meet record is still held by McGuffey’s Jeff Weiss of 15:30 in 2005 on a different course.

Griffith, who won this race in 2021, said he’ll now focus on the meet record at the WPIAL championship Oct. 27 at Cal (Pa.).

“I was just trying to train for next week and get a win,” Griffith said. “I felt pretty good. I’m going after the course record next week.”

Griffith started fast and took the lead from the gun and maintained his advantage throughout the race.

“Leading from the start was the game plan,” Griffith said. “Winning this a second time feels better than the first because I ran faster.”

North Allegheny sophomore Jack Bertram was second and Peters Township senior Brett Kroboth was third. Rounding out the top five were North Allegheny seniors Jackson Pajak and Gregory Kossuth.

Plum seniors Connor Pivirotto (18th) and Nathan Mienka (20th) also earned medals.

North Allegheny boys and girls were the Class 3A team champions.

Mt. Lebanon juniors Logan St. John Kletter and Caroline Adams finished one-two in the girls race. Kletter’s winning time was 18:36.19.

“I was more proud of my time than the win,” Kletter said. “I had a certain strategy I followed, and it seemed to work. I was just going to hang with the pack and go at the end. It was my (personal record) on this course.”

Bethel Park’s Jenna Lang placed third. She was followed by five North Allegheny runners — Robin Kucler, Eva Kynaston, Grace Rowley, Erin McGoey and Wren Kucler.

First-time winner

Uniontown senior Mason Stewart was hoping to run under 17 minutes, but he shocked himself by winning his first big race in an amazing time of 16:37.12, edging Hopewell senior Dom Flitcraft (16:39.91) and Elizabeth Forward junior Patrick Burgos (16:43.37) in the Class 2A.

Ringgold’s Ryan Pajak, the top runner in Class 2A, did not compete.

Belle Vernon senior Luke Henderson placed sixth, Greensburg Salem senior Aaron Tressler was seventh, and Kiski Area freshman Sammie Plazio, the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association champion, was eighth.

Plazio said the hill on the course was a killer.

“I definitely will have a different game plan next week,” Plazio said. “I’m going to attack the hill a different way. You can definitely pass people there.”

Woodland Hills freshman Annabel Johnson won the girls race in a time of 19:34.68. Shady Side Academy junior Chelsea Hartman was second and Hampton senior Ava Vitiello was third.

“This is my first big win in an invitational,” Johnson said. “Other than that, I placed second to Kiski Area’s Eliza Miller a few times.

“It was windy, so I really worked on drafting behind girls, especially on the hill. They did a lot of the work for me and then when I reached the top I took my chance and pulled in front.”

Winchester Thurston rules

The Winchester Thurston boys and girls took the Class A team titles.

Mohawk sophomore Jackson Schoedel took top honors, running a 17:19.88. Freedom junior James Couch was second with in 17:36.00 and Winchester Thurston sophomore Eli Desimone was third 17:48.80.

The girls winner was Riverside junior Alexi Fluharty, who ran a 20:05.41. Aquinas junior Alexis Abbett was second and Mohawk junior Natalie Lape was third.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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