Troy's Norton headlines four local medalists in Class A
HERSHEY - Troy's Casey Norton finished off her high school career in style, taking third overall in the PIAA Class A girl's race Saturday.
Norton, along with Wyalusing's Erika Huffman, Towanda's Destiny Foster and Northeast Bradford's Lydie Werner all took home hardware.
Norton, Huffman and Foster ran close together most of the race with Norton pulling a little further ahead before they hit the hills.
She finished at 19:43, one second behind second place finisher Alyssa Brandis of Central Cambria. Elk County Catholic's Kennedy Weisner ran away with the win in 18:29.
"It feels really good," Norton said.
She had a chance for second but couldn't quite catch Brandis.
"She wasn't exactly far enough I couldn't catch her," Norton explained. "But I think she heard people screaming. I just kind of knew I had to go now."
She wanted to stay close to Weisner.
"She gets away pretty fast," Norton remarked. "There was just no catching her after that."
As the race went on she began to feel comfortable with her spot.
"I was thinking 'there was no way I can't medal'" Norton remarked. "I also thought there was a way I could get second, too but in the middle of the race you just kind of want to pace yourself out because you've got that big hill at the end."
Being third in the state was something Norton thought was beyond her grasp until now.
"Lately I was hoping I would be up here," she said. "I really wanted to be top five. Top three in the state, that's awesome."
Huffman was eighth overall in 20:01.
"It feels great," the Ram senior said. "I'm really happy that I got the medal. I wished to do better but what can I say when it's my second year and I've got a state medal."
This race was a little different than last year's for Huffman.
"Last year I went out with a pack but this year there was just a couple of us that stringed out into a straight line," she explained. "Everyone went out fast."
As the race went on Huffman did a good job holding her spot in the top 10. She used some family motivation to keep her up there.
"Do this for my dad because he lost last night," Huffman explained. "Do it for the boys, just keep running."
Her father is the football coach at Wyalusing, which lost to Towanda in their annual rivalry game Friday night.
When Huffman started cross-country two years ago she wasn't sure how good she would be.
"I didn't even think I would come to states last year," she said.
Foster took ninth in 20:07.
"I knew I was ranked up there but I didn't think I would be able to do today," Foster remarked. "It's amazing."
She wanted to hang with the leaders for as long as possible.
"It was interesting," Foster said about the race. She didn't notice much difference from this year to last year's race.
"I felt like it was the same level of hardness," Foster said. "It was still a lot of fun."
She pleased to finish right behind Huffman.
"It was awesome," Foster said. "I was just like 'oh my gosh, I'm doing it.'"
She is coach Leo Harris's highest finishing girl.
"It's always been kind of a hope I would," Foster said about getting a state medal. "I always thought it was kind of a long shot."
Werner was 12th at 20:12.
"I wanted to try to do my best and just be happy that I made it," Werner said about her mindset.
She sat back to start the race.
"I was just trying to get through but I didn't want to waste my energy," Werner explained. "It was kind of nerve racking."
At the end she was in disbelief.
"I couldn't believe I did it," Werner remarked. "I just wanted to push harder just to know that I was there."
Being a freshman, Werner now has a clearer picture for next season.
"I know that I can do it," she explained. "Just keep working harder and see if I can still keep in the medals."
The Wellsboro team was 11th with 266 points.
They were led by Jada Jackson (21:17) in 51st and Jordyn Coffee (21:53) in 80th.
Also for the Hornets Randi Grim (22:40) was 116th, Camryn Keane (23:08) was 138th, Charlotte Worthington (23:16) was 143rd, Denae Ingerick (24:49) was 179th and Samantha Bailey (25:23) took 187th.
"Not quite as well as we had hoped," Wellsboro coach Thomas Slichter said. "I think having the time off Monday and Tuesday hurt a little bit. And as cold as it is it's a little more difficult to run. Overall we did fine, we missed our marks by a little bit. We were hoping to score a little bit better."
He did have four freshmen in his line-up with one freshman out with an injury.
"It's a learning experience for them," Slichter remarked. "They learned quite a bit today."
The Hornet coach will be returning six from this year's team to next year so the future looks bright.
"We're looking for good things," Slichter said. "We've got a good group coming back next year."
Elk Lake girls won the team title with 66 points.
In the Class AA race Sayre had two runners.
Katie Hurley was 136th at 21:33 while Molly O'Hara was 191st at 22:46.
"It was sad because it was my last race," Hurley remarked.
Running in a tight pack was difficult for Hurley.
"Usually I can go where I want but you really couldn't because there was someone all around you," she said.
This was a dream come true for O'Hara.
"I've wanted to run in the state meet every year," she remarked. "It just felt good to finally get here individually."
The seniors like running together.
"It was just so much better knowing she was in the box with me," Hurley said about O'Hara.
"We started together and it was great to end our cross-country season together," O'Hara added.
The overall winner was St. Mary's Area's Adair Gennocro in 19:00 while Palmyra won the team title with 91 points, edging out Dallas (94).