NB star looking for third medal
From Mirror reports
HERSHEY — Northern Bedford County High School senior Ian Zimmerman will be looking to earn his third PIAA medal at the PIAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday at the Parkview course.
Zimmerman leads the area contingent, along with Portage junior Lauren Shaffer and the Central Cambria boys and girls teams, in an event that will have staggering starting assignments in each classification due to pandemic concerns.
Zimmerman, the four-time District 5 Class 1A champ, earned a 13th-place medal in 2018 as a sophomore and finished fifth last year as a junior. This year, some of the top 1A runners, such as Penns Valley’s Colton Sands and Brendan Colwell — who finished 1-2 in the state last year — will be running in a different group from Zimmerman.
Northern Bedford coach Wayne Sherlock said Zimmerman has been preparing over the last month to race against the clock, as opposed to running against competitors.
“The plan is to go to Hershey and run as fast as he can and see how things sort out,” Sherlock said.
Shaffer was the silver medalist as a freshman in 2018 but didn’t fare as well last year. Her time of 18 minutes, 56 seconds at the district meet is an indication she’s ready for this year’s race.
“Lauren is a winner,” Portage coach Lance Hudak said. “Last year’s finish at Parkview motivated her to another level. The work is done — she is ready to run her absolute best on Saturday.”
Shaffer will begin the day at 9:30 a.m. and will be in a group with Portage teammate, freshman Alex Chobany, Northern Bedford sophomores Emilee Sherlock and Harley Socie, Chestnut Ridge sophomores Abby Emerick and Ava Whysong, and Juniata Valley junior Morgan Hess.
Zimmerman is slated to run at 10:30 a.m. with Chestnut Ridge senior August Anderson and sophomore Calan Bollman. Portage junior Josh Canavan will follow at 10:45 in a different 1A boys grouping.
In Class 2A, Central Cambria should be a force in both the boys and girls classifications.
The Lady Devils have won five state team titles, including one in 2018, and are led by junior Stella Kuntz, who placed ninth as a freshman and 22nd last year. Joining her are senior Olivia Ratchford, juniors Abby Walwro, Marlo Soyka and Faith Wilson, sophomores Annaliese Niebauer and Abigail George, and freshman Lilianna Janoska.
“I think our girls are ready to have a great race,” Central Cambria coach Randy Wilson said. “They’ve done well in the underdog role in their last two races, and I see that trend continuing.”
The Lady Red Devils will run at 11 a.m. along with a group of teams, including Bedford, which has junior Jessica Dibert, sophomores Meah Eshelman, Alexis Twigg, Maura Thomas and Emily Lang, and freshmen Avrey Weaverling and Jaelyn Edwards.
The Central Cambria boys, who will compete as a team at noon, are coming off an impressive showing at districts. The Devils will have seniors Toby Cree, Adam Lechleitner, Tyler Gibson, Evan Thomas and Ethan Shuagis, junior Eli Wandel, and sophomores Aiden Lechleitner and Devon Morgan.
“We had four seniors in the top five at districts, and I think they have this team laser-focused,” Wilson said. “I have no doubt they will battle all the way to the line.”
Other Class 2A individual boys from the area will race in a group at 12:30 p.m. That includes Tyrone senior Garin Hoy, Penn Cambria senior Logan Michina, and Bedford juniors Nate Scritchfield and Evan Sigel, and sophomore Isaac Swope.
Blair County will have two runners in each of the Class 3A girls and boys races, which begin at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., respectively. Junior Mackenzie Kelley and sophomore Reese Wilber will represent the Altoona girls, and juniors Ben Love and Chris Love will be running for Hollidaysburg.