Throughout last season, no matter if it was cross country or track, Kiski Area's Brent Kennedy and Fox Chapel twin brothers Ethan and Colin Martin developed a friendly rivalry.
It's time to renew that rivalry.
The Red, White & Blue Classic is Saturday at Schenley Park. It is the first big meet of the cross country season, with dozens of teams competing in boys and girls races. Kennedy and the Martins could very easily be the three best distance runners in the WPIAL and the three seniors' presence could make for one of the best races in the Red, White & Blue event.
"Brent is by far the strongest competition Colin and I will face," Ethan Martin said. "He's one of the top guys in the state. Having him in this race is going to be a nice showdown. That's what it turned into last year."
At the WPIAL cross country championships last fall, Kennedy won the Class AAA title, Ethan Martin finished second and Colin fifth.
At the WPIAL Class AAA track championships in May, the three had a memorable 3,200-meter race. Ethan Martin finished first in nine minutes, 17.20 seconds while Kennedy was second at 9:17.30. Colin Martin was third at 9:19.91.
At last year's Red, White & Blue, Kennedy finished first and Ethan Martin was second.
"This is going to be fun. It could go in either direction," Ethan said. "We're going to work on our speed, even though it's still early in the season. It's a nice warmup for what's to come later on."
In the girls race, North Hills' Mary Malone might be considered the favorite. A senior, Malone finished second last year to Shaler's Brianna Schwartz. Schwartz is a junior at Shaler and has turned into one of the best distance runners in recent WPIAL history. But Schwartz will not run in this year's Red, White & Blue.
"My coach and I decided that since I'm planning on running the regional for the Foot Locker National Championship [in late November] that I wouldn't run this one," Schwartz said.
Schwartz plans on running in the Oct. 5 Central Catholic Invitational, another one of the bigger races in the area. Schwartz is the defending WPIAL Class AAA champion and finished third at the PIAA meet.
Mike White: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh