South Xtra: Mt. Lebo girls shine, finish third in state cross country meet

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Mt. Lebanon girls cross country coach Ron Schreiner didn't think his team ran its best race at the WPIAL Class AAA championships Oct. 24, when the Blue Devils finished first by two points ahead of Seneca Valley.

"I think we got caught up too much in the moment," said Schreiner. "We had a good day, but not a great day."

The Blue Devils rebounded to have a great day at Hershey Park Saturday.

All of Mt. Lebanon's runners finished with a faster time than they did in the 2012 state meet, helping the Blue Devils finish third in Class AAA.

"Our girls ran the perfect race," Schreiner said.

The Blue Devils finished with 101 points, behind only Unionville (51) and Pennsbury (57).

Kelsey Potts led the way for Mt. Lebanon. A sophomore, she finished fourth at the WPIAL meet, but no WPIAL runner finished ahead of her Saturday. Potts came in fourth place, one spot ahead of two-time WPIAL champion Brianna Schwartz of Shaler Area.

"Kelsey is fearless," Schreiner said. "I don't know of a workout she won't do. And those two seniors, Jillian Hunsberger and Audrey Gordon, were always pushing Kelsey in practice and helping her get better and better."

Hunsberger placed seventh and Gordon came in 28th. They are two of four seniors, along with Callie Gunzenhauser and Julia Staltari, among Mt. Lebanon's top eight runners. The other four -- Potts, Claire Dougherty, Sadie Saxton and Grace Tandon -- are sophomores.

It made for a good team dynamic.

"The seniors were really close to this group of sophomores," Schreiner said.

The mix of talent and chemistry helped the Blue Devils achieve a lot this fall. They won team titles at the Red, White & Blue Classic, the Spiked Shoe Invitational, Central Catholic Invitational and the WPIAL meet. They also finished second behind Pennsbury at the PIAA Foundation Invitational.

Mt. Lebanon has won 11 WPIAL championships in the history of the girls cross country program, but Schreiner can't remember the last time the Blue Devils had as good a squad as this season's.

"This is the best Mt. Lebanon team I can remember in a long, long time," Schreiner said. "You never want to compare teams, but this was a very special group of girls.

"They wanted to win the section [title], which they did, win the WPIAL, which they did, and finish higher than fifth at the state tournament, which they did. They accomplished everything they set out to do."

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