HERSHEY - Alyssa Brandis capped her high school cross country career with her fourth PIAA medal Saturday, but she'll probably treasure this one a little more than the first three.
Brandis ran a time of 19:42, good enough for a second-place finish, at the Parkview Course. Elk County Catholic's Kennedy Weisner was the Class A girls champion with a time of 18:29.
"She ran a perfect race. She couldn't have run any better," Central Cambria coach Randy Wilson said. "The girl that won was simply better than her. She sat in the second pack until the mile, and she didn't try to run with the first girl.
"She would have blown up. She made a move, got into second at the hills and opened up her lead. She kept it the whole way through."
As a team, Central Cambria finished third. Elk Lake (66) and West Middlesex (100) both bested the Lady Devils (129).
"I really wanted us to be top five, but the thing about being third in the state is if you aren't top two you don't get recognition with medals, but it's amazing," Wilson said. "We're super excited. We're building, but what we're building at our middle school level will help us be a better team next year than we are this year.
"Alyssa is the first girl in Central Cambria history to medal at states for four years, and she's the second greatest cross country runner at the school in history and that's great for her if you consider the type of runners we've had."
Brandis took fourth as a freshman, 15th as a sophomore and was 12th as a junior before finishing second this year. Each of her first three finishes were in Class AA.
Penn Cambria's Arlee Simendinger finished 20th in the Class A race in 20:33 to capture her first medal. The top-25 finishers earn medals.
"She ran really, really well," Penn Cambria coach Todd Neibauer said. "She was 77th as a freshman and was like a deer in the headlights. She was determined to be up there and it was something to build on for next year.
"Our program is only in its sixth year, and Arlee is the first person to get a medal for us, and it's pretty special and gives the rest of the people something to shoot for."
The Lady Panthers finished in a tie for sixth, two points away from fifth.
Right behind Simendinger was Northern Bedford's Maria Snyder in 21st. Snyder, the District 5 champion, medaled with a time of 20:34.
The top boys finisher in the Mirror's coverage area was Bedford's William Kachman, who finished 30th in Class A in 17:07.
District 6 Class A boys champion Bryce England, of Williamsburg, finished 62nd in 17:46.
Altoona's Brad Foust was the top area Class AAA boys finisher, coming in 80th just ahead of teammate Dominic Stroh, who was 81st.
"Those who look at race results might be surprised to read that we are so proud of Brad Foust and Dominic Stroh for placing 80th and 81st [Saturday]," Altoona coach Lee Baranik said. "However, they are both sophomores who have never been to the state meet before, and Brad and Dominic have set themselves up for a great future at the state level."
CLASS A GIRLS
Teams: 1, Elk Lake, 66; 2, West Middlesex, 100; 3, Central Cambria, 129; T-6, Penn Cambria, 179.
Individuals: 1, Weisner, Elk County Catholic, 18:29; 2, Brandis, Central Cambria, 19:42; 3, Norton, Troy, 19:43; 20, Simendinger, Penn Cambria, 20:33; 21, Snyder, Northern Bedford, 20:34; 33, Swope, Central Cambria, 21:04; 53, Hayward, Central Cambria, 21:18; 58, Clauto, Penn Cambria, 21:25; 83, J. Bracken, Central Cambria, 21:59; 87, McGarry, Penn Cambria, 22:03; 92, E. Roberts, Penn Cambria, 22:09; 100, Lipnic, Central Cambria, 22:18; 107, D. Pompa, Penn Cambria, 22:26; 112, Kopera, Northern Cambria, 22:34; 130, Slobodnik, Bishop Guilfoyle, 23:01; 135, Coffman, Tussey Mountain, 23:06; 141, S. Roberts, Penn Cambria, 23:11; 145, S. Pompa, Penn Cambria, 23:22; 147, McKeel, Central Cambria, 23:34; 153, K. Bracken, Central Cambria, 23:49; 166, Bischof, Chestnut Ridge, 24:09
CLASS AA GIRLS
Teams: 1, Palmyra, 91; 2, Dallas, 94; 3, Holy Redeemer, 121.
Individuals: 1, Gennocro, St. Marys, 19:00; 2, Chikotas, Saucon Valley, 19:08; 3, Rome, Dallas, 19:14; 98, Baker, Bedford, 21:08; 111, Wiser, Tyrone, 21:17; 129, Fierro, Bedford, 21:28.
CLASS AAA GIRLS
Teams: 1, Pennsbury, 43; 2, Unionville, 86; 3, Central Bucks West, 141.
Individuals: 1, Smith, Unionville, 18:16; 2, Sheva, Pennridge, 18:36; 3, Schwartz, Shaler, 18:39; 137, Pensyl, Altoona, 21:01; 166, Weaver, Altoona, 21:35; 183, Ansley, Hollidaysburg, 22:00; 189, Pheasant, Hollidaysburg, 22:13.
CLASS A BOYS
Teams: 1, Northeast Bradford, 96; 2, Elk Lake, 133; 3, Saegertown, 142.
Individuals: 1, Galassi, Holy Cross, 15:59; 2, Jones, Elk Lake, 16:00; 3, Williams, Northeast Bradford, 16:13; 44, Sherlock, Northern Bedford, 17:34; 54, Heck, Northern Bedford, 17:40; 62, England, Williamsburg, 17:46; 80, Farnan, Chestnut Ridge, 17:58; 105, Jeffers, Central Cambria, 18:19.
CLASS AA BOYS
Teams: 1, Pottsgrove, 96; 2, Grove City, 99; 3, Annville-Cleona, 151.
Individuals: 1, Todaro, Big Spring, 16:00; 2, Shearn, North Schuylkill, 16:04; 3, Jaskowski, Grove City, 16:12; 30, Kachman, Bedford, 17:07; 90, Baker, Bedford, 17:48.
CLASS AAA BOYS
Teams: 1, West Chester Henderson, 69; 2, Cardinal O'Hara, 69; 3, Council Rock North, 137.
Individuals: 1, Russell, West Chester Henderson, 15:45; 2, Kennedy, Kiski Area, 15:52; 3, Pondel, Corry, 15:56; 80, Foust, Altoona, 17:10; 81, Stroh, Altoona, 17:10; 149, Futrell, Altoona, 17:44.