Three Lackawanna League runners came away with state medals in Class 1A girls Saturday at the PIAA Cross Country Championships.
Elk Lake’s Krista Jones led the way with a fourth-place finish. The sophomore covered the 3.1-mile Hershey Parkview Course in 19:41.9. That was 21 seconds behind winner Haley Hamilton of Our Lady of Sacred Heart, but just 0.5 seconds behind third-place Corinn Brewer from Greensburg Central Catholic.
It is the second state medal for Jones; she was 17th as a freshman in 20:52.
Mountain View sophomore Kathryn Long placed 13th in her state debut in 20:15.5. Montrose freshman Paige Brewer was 21st in 20:24.8.
Two other runners almost gave the league two more medals.
Senior Sadie Bosscher of Elk Lake, running her fourth state meet, missed by one spot, finishing 26th in 20:41.5.
Then there was Montrose’s Hannah Perkins. She has battled POTS Syndrome — a disorder that affects blood flow — to make it back to the state meet as a senior. She was in contention for a medal, running in the top seven for the first two miles.
However, over the final mile, she faded to 51st in 21:20.4.
“The first two miles of the race I felt really good,” Perkins said. “It wasn’t until that last stretch where I wasn’t feeling myself and it fell apart. My legs went completely numb and I ended up falling a couple times because I couldn’t keep my balance.”
Just getting to the finish line was an accomplishment for Perkins.
“It’s really disappointing, but we’ll get through it,” Perkins said. “I’m just so happy (to be) back at the state meet. I didn’t run here my sophomore or junior year. So to come back is something I’m proud of.”
Jones ran with Perkins for the first two miles. She was ninth after one mile, sixth after the second, then picked up two more spots in the final mile to wind up fourth.
“The start was fast as always,” Jones said. “I just tried to go out more comfortably. At the mile mark I started to pick it up and use the downhills to pick off some people. Toward the end of the race, I just held on to the girl that was in front of me. Focus on who was in front of me, not behind me.”
Repeating as a state medalist means a lot to Jones.
“It’s really awesome to have all the hard work pay off,” Jones said. “It’s a long season so it’s nice to be able to say that I did this.
“The fact I went from 17th to fourth and dropped over a minute on my time means a lot and shows what can happen in the future.”
Long was in 34th place after the first mile, but rallied in the second mile and picked up 18 spots.
That’s when she heard members of her family cheering along the course and letting her know she was in position for a state medal.
“That’s what really helped me push forward to kick it in toward the end of the race,” Long said.
“It feels really good to medal. These are all schools I’ve never run against before. I really wasn’t expecting to place this well. I’m overall very happy with my performance.”
Because her father is the Montrose coach and her brothers ran for the Meteors, Paige Brewer had been to the state meet the past three years as a spectator. She tried to apply what she learned from watching into running Saturday’s race.
“Just work the parts that you know you can work so that you can run your best race,” she said. “And to have fun.”
Brewer was 37th after the first mile and 23rd after the second before picking up two more spots in the final mile.
“People passed me on the uphills, but on the downhills I was able to catch them back,” Brewer said. “The rest of the race was really fast. I felt really good, so at the end I really started sprinting.”
As a team, District 2 champion Montrose finished 12th with 265 points. That included Perkins’ misfortune and the fact the Lady Meteors’ No. 3 runner, Stephanie Summerville, sat out with an injury.
“I think we could have finished in the top 10,” coach Dean Brewer said. “Overall I through we raced well. They did what we asked and worked hard all season. Looking forward to next season.”
Also from the Lackawanna League in Class 1A girls, Lackawanna Trail senior Tori James had her best finish in three trips to states- 38th, in 21:04.2. Forest City sophomore Rachel Korty was 71st in 21:39.0.
In Class 1A boys, Elk Lake sophomore Justice Johnson finished the race 72nd out of 214 with a PR of 18:02.