Solid running boosts the Chucks to fifth place

STATE COLLEGE — The Spiked Shoe Cross Country Invitational was held Saturday at Penn State, and the Punxsutawney Chucks boys' team placed fifth out of 13 complete teams.

"We had a real solid showing on the Blue and White Golf Course at Penn State Saturday," Punxsy head coach John Smith said. "As a team we finished fifth with 183 points with some great performances."

Senior Dane Baker led the Punxsy squad, running the 3.1-mile course in 17:18 and placing 20th overall out of 129 total finishers.

Smith called him "very aggressive" and said it was Baker's best race time on the course.

Smith said he was very proud of his team's spread time, which was just 1:05 between Punxsy's first and fifth place runners.

"Our spread time...continues to improve, which is what the boys have been working hard on in practice," Smith said.

Nate Ward was the second place runner for Punxsy with a time of 17:51 for 36th overall.

"Ward cracked the 18:00 barrier, which was very pleasing," Smith said.

Other scorers were Seth Burkett (18:20); Derick Kelly (18:22); and Bo Dinger (18:23). Overall, they took 42nd, 44th and 45th places, respectively.

Luke Fugate was the sixth place finisher for Punxsy in 19:20, and freshman Eric Ingros followed closely behind him in 19:28.

"Ingros (had) his best race of the season so far, coming in as our seventh man," Smith said.

Punxsy had four other finishers, who were not scored: Jerad Meterko (19:45); Shane Johns (21:21); Zach Moore (22:06); and William Boddorf (23:23).

"I was very pleased with everyone's effort in the race," Smith said. "We are showing improvement as a team, but we need to continue our progress as the season goes on and stay injury-free and healthy. That will be our key to success by district time."

The Chucks next meet will be Tuesday at Brookville Junior-Senior High School.

"We will also see Bradford, challenging us on a very hilly course," Smith said. "Hopefully, the weather will be fine, and we will get an effort like we had from the boys on Saturday."