Sewickley Herald notebook: Quaker Valley cross country team shines at White Oak Park

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Sunday, September 18, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Quaker Valley’s boys cross country team celebrated in style at the 20th annual Red, White & Blue Classic on Sept. 9 at White Oak Park.

The Quakers zeroed in on third place with 132 team points, slightly behind first-place Hampton (121) and runner-up Blackhawk (131). Uniontown and North Catholic tied for fourth with 136 points.

“We are extremely proud with the performance of both the boys team and the girls team,” coach Rob Heuler said. “The majority of our runners set new personal records. Our runners had to put forth their best efforts and challenge themselves to run their best races. We are quite pleased that all of our runners were able to do this against a challenging field.

“And we are so proud of our student-athletes. I want to thank all of our student-athletes for their dedication and tireless efforts throughout the summer and into the fall as we would not be in this situation as a program without their leadership and commitment.”

QV’s boys team was led by the top 10 performance of junior Matthew Otto, who crossed the finish line in ninth place in 16:20.

“Matthew’s performance was outstanding,” Heuler said. “He was in a perfect mindset prior to the start of the race. He went out there and pushed himself to run a strong race against a strong field.”

Otto set the pace for QV sophomore Clark LaLomia (16:53), freshman Tyler Bell (17:07), junior Matthew Cohen (17:39) and senior Luke Hotchkiss (18;14), who placed 17th, 19th, 35th and 52nd.

Two other leading competitors for the Quakers were sophomore Jackson Pethel (18:45) and senior Frederick McCullough (18:59).

“The boys are in a fight with several other very strong 2A teams that will be battling each other for the podium at WPIALs and the opportunity to qualify for states,” Heuler said.

The Quaker Valley girls finished in medal-worthy eighth place in the 2A varsity division and were led by Cecilia Montagnese’s sixth-place showing.

Montagnese, a sophomore standout, logged a time of 19:48.

“Cecilia’s performance was equally impressive (as Otto’s),” Heuler said. “In particular, her second and final lap on the White Oak Park course demonstrated her endurance and fortitude to finish on such a positive note.”

Also in the top five for the QV girls team were juniors Ellie Cain (20:50) and Kate Hines (22:18), senior Zoey Murawski (23:46) and sophomore Mia Fusco (24:22).

Two other leading QV runners were freshman Kendra Hines (24:38) and senior Stevin Wallace (24:48).

“The girls are seeking to make continued improvements,” Heuler said, “as they seek to build from prior years with an improved team performance at WPIALs and having individual runners qualify for states.”

QV rower honored

Quaker Valley senior Ellie Graham was named to United States Rowing’s 2023 Scholastic Honor Roll.

Each year, U.S. Rowing selects 100 students throughout the country who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievements and success on the water.

Graham, a Sewickley resident, began rowing in the 2018-19 season with Three Rivers Rowing. During the pandemic year, she moved to the Sylvan Scullers club, where she has continued to excel.

In 2020-21, Graham placed fourth overall in the under-17 women’s single sculls category at the U.S. Rowing Nationals in Sarasota, Fla.

In addition to performing well in the sprints, Graham also has been successful in head races including the Head of the Ohio, Head of the Cuyahoga, Head of the Schuylkill and Head of the Charles regattas.

This season, she was invited to the U.S. National team selection camp in Chula Vista, Calif.

DeSantis stars in opener

Senior forward Michael DeSantis accounted for four goals and one assist in leading the Sewickley Academy boys soccer team to a 7-0 nonsection win against Freeport in its 2022 season opener. QV goalkeeper Cooper Wentz recorded a clean sheet with six saves.

Seniors Adin Zorn and Hudson Colletti and junior Jackon Quickley complemented DeSantis offensively with one goal apiece. Zorn also tacked on three assists.

Bulger looks to tie record

Quaker Valley senior Eva Bulger became just the third player in WPIAL girls golf history last year to win three straight individual championships.

Bulger joined Jodi Figley of Hopewell (1983-86) and Caroline Wrigley of North Allegheny (2016-18) as three-time champions.

Figley, whose son Adam Renner is a senior starter for the Quakers, went on to capture a fourth WPIAL title at Hopewell. Bulger will be playing for her fourth championship this season.

Two-sport standouts

Did you know that Sewickley Academy junior tennis standout Ashley Close was a first team All-WPIAL selection in lacrosse last spring?

Both Ashley and Kirsten Close, the No. 1 and No. 2 singles players on the tennis team, compete for Sewickley Academy girls lacrosse and Intrepid Lacrosse Club.

Kirsten Close, a sophomore, was injured most of the spring with an AC shoulder sprain.

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