Freshman is alone as WPIAL winner


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Many of the top runners for the PIAA Class A girls cross-country race were juniors and seniors. But a freshman crashed the party.

Vincentian ninth-grader Marianne Abdalah won the PIAA title Saturday in Hershey, Pa. But she didn't just win the title. She dominated the competition, finishing almost one minute ahead of the second-place finisher.

Abdalah won with a time of 18 minutes, 24 seconds. Avonworth's Beth Shenck was second at 19:20 and Elk County Catholic's Kennedy Weisner third at 19:21.

"Coming in, I thought it would be pretty close with Kennedy," Abdalah said. "She was still with me for the first mile and that was a good thing to help push me. But I never thought in a million years that I would win by almost a full minute."

Abdalah was the only winner from the WPIAL in the six races (boys and girls).

Shaler's Brianna Schwartz, who set a course record at the WPIAL championships a week earlier, was hoping to become the first WPIAL girl to win a PIAA title in the largest classification since 2002. She finished third a year ago but was only able to finish fifth this year.

Mt. Lebanon's Kelsey Potts finished in fourth place at 18:31 and teammate Jillian Hunsberger finished seventh at 18:47. They helped Mt. Lebanon place third in team points.

In Class AA, the top finisher from the WPIAL was West Allegheny's Alexis O'Shea, who placed third at 19:22.

In boys races, the Martin twins from Fox Chapel finished in the top 20 in Class AAA. Colin Martin was the WPIAL's top finisher, placing sixth at 16:13, while Ethan was 17th at 16:25. The twins expected better after Colin finished first and Ethan second at the WPIAL championships.

"It's kind of a pretty sad day. At least I know I was disappointed," Ethan said. "It's just disappointing whenever you don't perform. It hurts that it has to end like this."

North Allegheny was second in Class AAA with 97 points. West Chester Henderson won with 60.

In Class AA, Uniontown's Nate Edenfield was the WPIAL's top finisher at fourth place with a time of 16:41. Waynesburg's Sean Hilverding was sixth at 16:47.

In Class A, Eden Christian's Carter Smith was the WPIAL's top finisher in ninth place at 16:53.

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