Rich Stever battled the elements and the best runners in District VI and earned a 13th place finish to qualify for the PIAA Class AA State Cross Country Championships in Hershey on Saturday.
The Tyrone freshman paced his way through the 3.1 mile course at the Indian Valley Middle School, in the time of 17:35 to become the first Golden Eagle harrier and to qualify for the PIAA Championships since Jim Wiggin in 2000.
“I am so proud of the way Rich ran,” said Tammy Wills, the coach of the Golden Eagle Cross Country team. “He ran a very smart race and earned his trip to Hershey. It’s a big accomplishment to qualify for states as a freshman.”
The Tyrone boys team finished 11th overall. Nathan Kruis finished 45th in 18:57, James Russell finished 47th in 19:00, Dustin Elder finished 60th in 19:22, Evan Lewis finished 131st in 22:01, Travis Johnson finished 135th in 22:12 and Derrick Wilson rounded out the Eagle harriers finishing 145th in 22:59.
“Our boys put a lot of hard work in all season long,” said Wills. “Nathan (Kruis) and James (Russell) ran great and Dustin Elder was sick Saturday and gutted out the race. All three finished in the top 60. Our boys worked hard all season and I am proud that they finished 11th in a very tough district.” “The best thing is that these boys will all be back next year because we have no seniors” said Wills.” “I am already looking forward to what they can and will accomplish.”
Facing Stever this week is a solid week of preparation for the State Championships.
“Richie is going to get some work in this week,” said Wills. “It is going to be tough competition, but I know he will give it everything he has.”
Although the girls’ had no state qualifiers each of the Lady Eagles went out and gave it everything they had. Some had the best races of their season. Because of a computer problem the official girl’s times were very off. They actually had to hand score the girls varsity race. Finishing first for Tyrone was Ashley Ford placing 93rd, followed closely by Rochell Clapper 124th and Annie Daughenbaugh 125th. Meghan Miller 139th and Stephine Schimdit at 142nd rounding out the girls team.
“I am so proud of each one of them!” said Wills. “They all came into this season new to the sport of cross country, a couple had never run before, a couple started training later, and because of injuries they had no veteran runners to guide them and they all had a season to be proud of.
“Both the Tyrone boys and girls are a very young team and we are going to be lucky enough to have them all back next year.”
Ben Hatch moved up seven places for Bellwood-Antis, in qualifying for the PIAA Class AA State Cross Country Championships in Hershey on Saturday.
Hatch, a senior who qualified for the 2006 state meet with a 14th place finish, qualified for the second straight year with a seventh place time of 17:24.
“Ben ran a pretty good first mile and an excellent third mile,” explained Bellwood-Antis cross country coach Julie Roseborough. “The second mile with a lot of hills, is probably the toughest mile to run. Ben just needs to run a better second mile at Hershey. Overall, our kids all did a pretty nice job.”
With 154 runners in the boys race, sophomore Cooper Campbell was 55th overall in 19:18, senior Jeff Stuby was 76th, junior Talon Sickler was 83rd, junior Tyler Hunter was 86th, freshman Matt Rimmey was 106th and junior Cody Fink was 115th.