STATE COLLEGE — The Punxsutawney Lady Chucks cross country team headed to State College Saturday to run in the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational.
All 12 of the Lady Chucks performed their season bests to help the team place eighth overall out of 13 full teams.
"The Penn State golf course is relatively fast, and that coupled with cool weather really helped all the runners perform their best," Punxsy head coach George Wehrle said. "It was an excellent day all around."
A total of 134 runners took part in the varsity competition with Governor Mifflin, from the Reading Area, placing first overall in team competition. Ridgewood, of New Jersey, and State College took second and third, respectively.
"The top three are some of the best programs around, and there were other solid teams competing as well," Wehrle said. "I was surprised we were only eighth because I thought we ran very well, but against teams of this caliber, it's not easy."
The Lady Chucks were led by Alexis Young, who placed 27th overall in 20:52. Her time was a full minute and a half better than her previous season best.
"Alexis is in terrific shape and ran an excellent race," Wehrle said. "I still think she can do even better with a couple more races under her belt."
The second-place finisher was Juliann Boddorf in 21:44 for 43rd overall. Her time was her season best by 44 seconds.
"Julianna ran a nice race, but, like Alexis, I feel she can do significantly better based on her talent and dedication," Wehrle said. "This was a nice step in the right direction."
Ala Small was not far behind Boddorf, as she finished in a total time of 21:54.
"Ala is doing a great job," Wehrle said of the freshman. "She wants to do well and has stepped right in to help lead the team as our number three runner."
Tamera Anthony (23:43) and Kirsten Dean (23:46) were the next finishers for Punxsy, finishing 88th and 89th, respectively.
"Tamera and Kirsten are going to be very important if we are to be successful this year," Wehrle said. "They need to keep improving and close down that gap between our top three girls. I feel confident they will."
Marissa Greenblatt shaved two minutes off her previous season best, finishing in 24:12 and 96th overall.
"Marissa coming in as our sixth runner is really a huge step up for her, and hopefully, she will be confident enough now to start challenging Tamera and Kirsten," Wherle said. The competition should only make us a better team."
Finishing 101st through 103rd were three Lady Chucks freshmen: Kaston Mohney (24:28); Logan Brooks (24:35); and Elissa Hill (24:38).
"Our five freshman have a lot of potential and are starting to show it in races," Wehrle said.
The other finishers for Punxsy were Kayla Carpenter (25:19); Heidi Rodgers (25:37) and Hannah Rummel (30:57). Rummel took the most time off her race record, as her previous best was 2:39 more than her time Saturday.
"Hannah is looking better and better each week, and I hope to see her running consistently under 30 minutes very soon," Wehrle said.
Punxsy's next race will be Tuesday at Brookville as it takes on the Lady Raiders and the Lady Owls of Bradford in a tri-meet.