Lady Beavers edge Lady Chucks on Senior Night

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsy girls' cross country team dropped a close one in their final home meet of the season, falling 27-28 to the DuBois Beavers on Senior Night.

DuBois was able to take three of the top four places in the meet to drop the Lady Checks to 4-4 on the year.

"We figured it was going to be close, and it truly could have gone either way today," Punxsy coach George Wehrle said. "DuBois was stronger up front in getting three runners in before our second runner, but we rallied nicely to take the next four places and almost pull out the win. It was an exciting meet."

Punxsy recognized its two seniors, Kirsten Dean and Heidi Rodgers, before the start of the meet.  

"Kirsten and Heidi have been around for four years and have done an awful lot to help make our program successful," Wehrle said. "They both contributed to two district team championships and have been a joy to coach. I will miss them both next year, for sure."

For a photo from senior recognition, see Thursday's edition of The Spirit.

DuBois senior Catherine Sheffo continued her strong running with a convincing win in 20:19, over a minute ahead of Punxsy's Alexis Young.

"Sheffo looks to be the odd-on favorite to win the district title this year, although I think Alexis can challenge her more than she did today," Wehrle said.

Kayla Brennan of DuBois placed third overall, followed by teammate Brittany Bogacki.  

Punxsy's Ala Small was less than a second behind Bogacki in fifth place.

"Ala ran a very good race, but so did DuBois' top three girls," Wehrle said. "I was hoping we would match up just a bit better with Sheffo, Brennan and Bogacki, but today was their day."

Juliann Boddorf took sixth place overall with a time of 22:39, followed by Kaston Mohney in 23:20 and Kirsten Dean one second later.

"Juliann is working toward returning to her best form, but Kaston and Kirsten had terrific races today and are really coming on at just the right time," Wehrle said. "Kaston's time was her fastest of the year by 34 seconds."

DuBois took the next four places to clinch the win,  followed by a host of Punxsy runners claiming the next six places.  

Logan Brooks ran a time of 24:25, with Tamera Anthony just nine seconds behind her.

Heidi Rodgers followed in 24:37 with Elissa Hill close on her heels with a clocking of 24:46. 

Marissa Greenblatt took just 24:57 to complete the 3.1 mile layout, finishing in a virtual dead-heat with teammate Kayla Carpenter.

"I was surprised DuBois had seven runners in before our sixth runner," Wehrle said. "We have a nice pack, but they were too far back to affect the team scoring today. Our girls ran well, but theirs ran better and deserved to win."

Hannah Rummel ran a career-best time of 29:38, breaking 30 minutes for the first time ever, and Wehrle was proud of her after the race.   

"Hannah really looked strong out there today, and it's a nice accomplishment for her to finally get under the 30 minute barrier," he said.

Jenna Knox completed the course with a time of 35:34, just off her seasonal best. "Jenna is certainly getting better, as even though she struggled a bit today her time was still her second-best of the season," Wehrle said.

Punxsy will face DuBois again next week, this time on the Beavers' home course, and Wehrle knows what the Lady Chucks are in for.

"DuBois is obviously a strong team, so facing them on their home course will be a challenge," he said. "State College will also be there, and they are ranked fifth in the state. It should be a good opportunity to run against some excellent competition."

After their last home meet of the season, the Punxsy coaches said they would like to thank everyone who helped make the home meets a success.

"Coach (John) Smith and I really appreciate the help we received this year at our home meets," Wehrle said. "From parents bringing in snacks for the runners to volunteers helping with the timing and directing traffic, everything went very smoothly again this year."