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Punxsy hopeful underdogs headed to districts

October 23, 2011

In this Oct. 4 file photo, Punxsy's Kirsten Dean finishes a race against Kane and DCC in Punxsutawney. Dean and the Lady Chucks concluded their regular season last week against DuBois, participated in the Tri-State Championship Thursday, and now are looking forward to the District-IX championships Saturday in Ridgway. (Photo by Zak Lantz/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

SLIPPERY ROCK — The Punxsy girls' cross country team traveled to Slippery Rock last Thursday to take part in the Tri-State Track Coaches Association (TSTCA) championship meet held at the Cooper’s Lake Cross Country Course, and despite miserable conditions, the girls performed well, taking 23rd place out of 57 teams.

“I thought all the girls did a very nice job, considering how muddy the course was and the overall weather conditions," Punxsy head coach George Wehrle said Friday. "For us to place as high up as we did against some of the larger Pittsburgh-area schools is a pretty nice achievement.”

There was a total of 466 runners competing in the varsity girls race, making the course extremely crowded and slippery.

“There are just so many runners in the race that it makes for challenging conditions, but on the positive side there is always someone around you to help push you to run faster,” Wehrle said.

Alexis Young finished first for the Lady Chucks, placing 85th overall with a time of 22:10, with Juliann Boddorf (22:32, 107th) and Ala Small (22:34, 109th) not far behind.

“Our first three girls did well to stay fairly close together, something that hopefully they can do next week- end at districts but at an even faster pace,” Wehrle said.

Senior Kirsten Dean continued her consistent senior year by placing 203rd in 23:33.

“Kirsten is an amazingly reliable runner, which is great as a coach because you always know she’ll come through no matter what the circumstances,” Wehrle said.

Freshman Kaston Mohney was the next runner in for Punxsy, as she placed 249th with a time of 24:26.

“Kaston has really come on for the team in the last few weeks, and we’ll be counting on her to step up big again at districts,” Wehrle said.

Logan Brooks ran 24:48 to place 271st, with Tamera Anthony coming across in 26:46, good for 361st. Wehrle has confidence that both girls will bounce back even stronger at districts.

“Logan can do even better than she did today, and I look for her to do that at districts," he said. "Tamera had a rough go of it today but is a tough person who will bounce back quickly.”

In the team standings, Punxsy was behind district-rival Bradford but finished ahead of Altoona, Indiana and Fox Chapel.

“We did well agianst some traditionally strong programs, and I know we can do even better," Wehrle said. "Bradford and DuBois have beaten us three times each this year, but the district race could go to any of these three teams, in my opinion.”

In the junior varsity competition, a total of 211 runners and 20 complete teams finished, with Punxsy taking 12th overall in the team standings.

“The course was even worse for the JV race than for the varsity, and there were also 300 some boys in the race running at the same time," Wehrle said. "It was a mess to say the least.”

Senior Heidi Rodgers led the way for Punxsy in the race with a time of 25:31, good for 58th place. Elissa Hill was just three seconds back in 60th place.

“Elissa was our first runner most of the way, with Heidi close behind, but Heidi always finishes strongly and did so again today," Wehrle said. "Both girls ran very well given the conditions.”

Sophomore Kayla Carpen- ter placed 72nd in 26:01, followed closely by freshman Marissa Greenblatt two places and one second later.

“Kayla had a nice race, and Marissa had a much better race today than she had Tuesday. Both girls did well,” Wehrle said.

Hannah Rummel ran the 3.1 mile layout in 31:11, placing 189th, and Jenna Knox placed 206th with a time of 35:50.

“Hannah ran this course in almost 38 minutes last year under much better conditions, so her race today was outstanding, and Jenna looked strong the whole race and had a nice performance,” Wehrle said.

Punxsy is off until next Saturday when they will compete at the district championships in Ridgway — a meet at which the Lady Chucks hope to turn some heads.

“We are certainly not going in as one of the favorites, but I have a lot of faith in these girls," Wehrle said. "I am very confident they will have a terrific race and hopefully come out on top.”

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