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Ben Hatch punches ticket to PIAA Cross Country Meet

Bellwood-Antis junior Ben Hatch was one of 18 area runners to qualify for the PIAA State Cross Country championships next weekend at Hershey. Hatch just made the cutoff, claiming a 14th place in 18:19 to claim the final spot in the Double-A boys race at the District 6 Cross Country Meet, held Saturday at the Indian Valley Middle School course in Reedsville.
The weather made it a tough race for all of the participants with a wet track, plus strong winds.
“Track is Ben’s first love, although he’s a point guard on the basketball team, too,” said Bellwood-Antis coach Julie Roseborough said. “He is a good all-around athlete, who has worked hard to make himself better in cross country. I really liked his time, considering the conditions he was running in.”
Roseborough also noted that Hatch ran cross country as a freshman two years ago, but didn’t run as a sophomore, choosing to concentrate on basketball and track and field, but he has been the Blue Devils best runner this season.
“This (qualifying for states) is really quite an accomplishment with a very strong field. They only take the first two teams and the top 10 other runners not on those teams.”
Tyrone’s Dustin Elder was 28th in 18:58 and teammate Nathan Kruise was 36th in 19:20.
“This was a great way to end the season for all our kids,” said Tyrone coach Tammy Wills. “Dustin was selected the MVP for the Division III All-Star team and Nathan was the 10th place pick for the division All-Stars as well. I am looking forward to next year. Our only senior is Philip Kreckle-we are a very young team, practically everybody will be back for two more years. The future should be bright for Tyrone cross country.”
Bradley McNeal was 87th in 20:34 for the Golden Eagles, followed by Randy Wilson (127th in 22:27), Philip Kreckle (128th in 22:43), Joe Miller (140th in 24:12), and Ben Smerekar (143rd in 25:30) for Tyrone.
“It means a lot (to qualify for states). There are tons of people who are going. It’s good to race against good competition,” said Hatch. “It’s just an honor. I wanted to take a break last fall. I had just got running from track, but I’m pretty sure if I had run cross country last year, it would have helped me a little better for this year.”
Other Bellwood-Antis runners included: Cooper Campbell (52nd in 19:38), Garett Wyland (81st in 20:25), Tyler Hunter (94th in 20:48) and Jeff Stubby (111th in 21:29).
“Cooper Campbell did a very nice job and is only a freshman. Garett Wyland ran well and Tyler Hunter did a good job while battling some illness” said Roseborough.
On the girls side, Bellwood-Antis senior Sarah Bell was the top local runner with a 44th place finish in 23:07. followed by teammates Kelley Killinger (61st in 23:58), Emily Derr (65th in 24:05) and Emily O’Shea (85th in 25:08).
The highest placer for the Tyrone girls was sophomore Christina Dougherty with a time of 25:27 in 91st place. The Lady Eagles, who have struggled with numbers all year due to injury and illness, had just two runners. Sophomore Salena Bradigan was 113th in 27:06.
“I was very happy with the times of both girls,” said Wills. “Both ran very hard races. Conditions were not the greatest, the wind was a definite factor, especially coming up to the finish line. Salena was very happy with her second-best time ever.”
Other Bellwood-Antis girls included: Becca Colyer (92nd in 25:28), Brittany Webb (115th in 27:55) and Rachel Bilka (124th in 31:16).
“Sarah Bell ran a very nice race,” said Roseborough. “There were a lot of very good runners from the other side of the mountain. I would expect Central Cambria with the Seymour to win states. There was a very tough field for the girls.
“Rachel Bilka and Brittany Webb closed out their careers with good runs and Emily Derr finished up a real nice season for a first-year runner. Becca Colyer and Emily O’Shea both ran good races. Kelley Killinger had been troubled with some illness earlier and it has taken a while for her to get back and this was a good race for her to finish the season.
“We had Erin Morrissey and Allison Derr run in the junior varsity, so that they would have a chance to run against other younger runners. They both ran nice races.”
Central Cambria’s Carly Seymour won her second straight District 6-AA title and will be joined by her teammates who had four places in the top 27.