SIDMAN Emotion ruled the day at the District 6 boys cross country championships at Forest Hills Middle School Saturday.
Altoona coach Lee Baranik was overcome with jubilation, jumping up and down congratulating District 6 Class AAA individual champion Dominic Stroh for his come-from-behind championship. Minutes later, Baranik learned Altoona lost in its upset bid of State College for the team title by a single point, 30-31.
Randy Wilson, who earlier in the day coached the Central Cambria girls team to their ninth consecutive District 6 title, was running down a hill with his arms in the air and pumping his fists as if he'd won the first championship of his career when the Red Devil boys crushed runner-up Penns Valley, 42-100, to take the Class A team title.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Altoona boys cross country coach Lee Baranik gives a big hug to Dominic Stroh after Stroh captured first place at the boys District 6 Class AAA Championships held at the Forest Hills Middle School Saturday morning.
Williamsburg's Bryce England, running once again without a team, was taking plenty of deep sighs of relief following his second straight District 6 Class A title. It wasn't because he was tired, but because he was so thankful his shoe - nearly completely off by the time he reached the finish line - hadn't come off in the final stretch of the race.
And Bedford's William Kachman, who won his first District 6 title with a dominant performance in the Class AA field? Well, he was a little more reserved.
"I also have a soccer game today for the district championship," Kachman said. "So I didn't want to really push it."
In a day filled with plenty of drama, Altoona's second straight close call may have been the biggest local storyline. After winning five consecutive team titles, the Mountain Lions lost by three to Mifflin County a year ago. They were even closer Saturday.
"We knew it was going to be close," Baranik said. "It hurts, it does, but our guys really stepped up. Our guys ran really, really well and have nothing to be ashamed of today."
No one ran better than Stroh, who posted the best time of the day with a 15:54.6.
"At the start, I was feeling tired from going out so fast," Stroh said. "I worked my way back up to my teammates, and on that second loop I started to feel it. Once I got to the front, I kept telling myself I had to keep going, because this is what I've been working toward all season."
Stoh's teammates, Brad Foust, who finished third in 16:17.8, Joe Uliano and Mitch Endress all will join Stroh at states.
Despite Kachman's win in 16:18.6 in Class AA, his Bisons came up short in the team race to Somerset, 41-69. However, Kachman will have one teammate joining him at states after Zane Baker qualified by finishing fourth.
"Having a good teammate [like Baker] helps me push myself," said Kachman, who finished as the runner-up in Class AA a year ago.
District champions will be the area's lone representatives from District 6 in the boys Class A PIAA championships.
England won for the second year in a row with a time of 16:44.8 and will be going to states for the third time.
"I'm really happy, and I hope this helps me get a chance to run in college," England said. "I'm just so happy my shoe didn't come off. It started falling off halfway through the third mile, and I just kept hoping no one would pass me."
Javaunte Neumann's third-place finish and Justin Jeffers' fourth-place effort helped Central Cambria sweep the boys and girls Class A competition.
"This is the most excited I've been in years," Wilson said. "This boys team went from a non-factor in every sense, dual meets, invites and districts to this. We just weren't even part of the mix. Now they're Laurel Highlands and district champions.
"These boys just decided in the middle of their summer they were going to work hard and make this their goal. They simply worked their [butts] off."
TEAM RESULTS (TOP TWO ADVANCE): 1, Central Cambria (CC), 42; 2, Penns Valley (PV), 100; 3, Westmont Hilltop (WH), 116; 4, Blairsville (B), 120; 5, Richland (R), 138; 6, Bishop McCort (BM), 165; 7, Marion Center (MC), 178; 8, Purchase Line (PL), 232; 9, Penns Manor (PM), 233; 10, United (U), 297; 11, West Branch (WB), 307; 12, Cambria Heights (CH), 309; T-13, Bellwood-Antis (BA), 376; T-13, Bishop Carroll (BC), 376; 15, Northern Cambria (NC), 383; 16, Central (C), 392; 17, Bishop Guilfoyle (BG), 451; 18, Juniata Valley (JV), 470.
INDIVIDUALS (TOP 10 MINUS ADVANCING TEAM MEMBERS ADVANCE): 1, England, Williamsburg, 16:44.8; 2, Fuller, PV, 16:56.7; 3, Neumann, CC, 17:04.8; 4, Jeffers, CC, 17:06.8; 5, Horwat, PM, 17:12.4; 6, Eckroth, R, 17:23.4; 7, Gagnon, WH, 17:27.3; 8, Brandis, CC, 17:36.4; 9, R. Horchar, B, 17:41.3; 10, Nicosia, PV, 17:44.9; 11, Descavich, CC, 17:48.5; 12, Buckovich, WH, 17:58.2; 13, A. Horchar, B, 18:01.9, 14, Learn, PL, 18:08.5; 15, Murtha, R, 18:12.0; 16, Rocks, B, 18:12.0.
OTHER AREA FINISHERS IN TOP 30: 18, Niebauer, CH, 18:20.3; 21, Walwro, CC, 18:26.0; 24, Murin, CC, 18:31.0; 27, Woodley, NC, 18:37.8.
TEAM RESULTS (TOP TEAM ADVANCES): 1, Somerset (S), 41; 2, Bedford (B), 69; 3, Bellefonte (BF), 81; 4, St. Joseph's (SJ), 87; T-5, Forest Hills (FH), 155; T-5, Ligonier Valley (LV), 155; 7, Penn Cambria (PC), 161; 8, Tyrone (T), 225; 9, Philipsburg-Osceola (PO), 226; 10, Bald Eagle Area (BEA), 239.
INDIVIDUALS (TOP FIVE MINUS ADVANCING TEAM MEMBERS ADVANCE): 1, Kachman, B, 16:18.6; 2, Bastian, S, 16:53.8; 3, Desai, S, 17:13.1; 4, Baker, B, 17:25.4; 5, Moody, BEA, 17:28.7; 6, Hackman, SJ, 17:38.9; 7, Ickes, S, 17:50.3; 8, Urban, SJ, 17:50.6.
OTHER AREA FINISHERS IN TOP 30: 9, Tew, B, 17:51.9; 21, Everhart, T, 18:47.2; 22, Zubak, B, 18:49.0; 27, Brown, PC, 19:03.6; 28, Slatko, PC, 19:11.6; 29, Farabaugh, PC, 19:16.1; 30, Fabbri, PC, 19:16.7.
TEAM RESULTS (TOP TEAM ADVANCES): 1, State College (SC), 30; 2, Altoona (A), 31; 3, Mifflin County (MC), 69; 4, Central Mountain (CM), 127; 5, Hollidaysburg (H), 129.
INDIVIDUALS (TOP FIVE MINUS ADVANCING TEAM ADVANCE): 1, Stroh, A, 15:54.6; 2, Cather, SC, 16:09.7; 3, Foust, A, 16:17.8; 4, Golembeski, SC, 16:19.9; 5, Knudsen, MC, 16:21.6; 6, Adams, SC, 16:28.8; 7, Milligan, SC, 16:40.0; 8, Uliano, A, 16:55.6; 9, Endress, A, 16:56.9.
OTHER AREA FINISHERS IN TOP 20: 10, Heasley, A, 17:03.7; 14, Sunderland, A, 17:47.5; 18, Jennings, H, 17:56.8; 19, George, A, 17:59.1.