Smith, UHS girls grab Ches-Mont cross country title

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Perfect weather, challenging course for local runners

By Hannah Christopher, Running Editor, The Times

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Runners enjoy the beauty of the Willowdale Steeplechase course — used for part of Friday’s Ches Mont Cross Country championships — with the Unionville High School girls winning the girls’ team title and West Chester Henderson winning the boys’ title.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — If you were to rate on a scale from 1-10 for running weather  on Friday for the Ches-Mont cross country championships a grade of 10 would easily be given.  Sunny and in the low 60s at the  race start held at Unionville High School for the second year in a row.  The five kilometer course utilizes the middle school, high school grounds and the WiIlowdale Steeplechase field to create a true 5000 meter cross country course.

The weather was not the only perfect ten going on Friday.  Courtney Smith was golden once again to win her race in a swift 18-minute flat time.  The Ches-Mont Champion helped her team to a championship trophy for the third week in a row.

In the most recent poll by Running Times the Unionville girls as a team are ranked number one in the nation.  Helping today in the victory for the Indians was Olivia Young (19:13), Kacie Breeding (19:13) third and fourth overall, and 6th and 8th were Elizabeth Edwards(19:52) and Gretchen Mills(19:58)  .  Rounding out the team today was Bridgette Zerbe (20:00) in 13th and Molly Wentz (20:04)in 15th place.  The team won with a score of 22 points and average 5 k time of 19:16.  In cross country, the top 5 runners for a given team are awarded points for their place. A perfect score would be 15 points. (places 1, 2,3,4,5)

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Members of the top-ranked Unionville High School girls’ cross country team celebrate with their medals and trophies, following Friday’s Ches Mont Cross Country meet in Willowdale.

In second place overall for the girls was Aislinn Devlin, sister of NFL quarterback Pat Devlin (Miami Dolphins) from Downingtown West.  The athletic talent runs deep in their family and she should be fun to watch race  over the next few years.  Kennett’s top male finisher was Chris Kienzle  in 11th place overall.  The Kennett girls had Katie Gallivan as their top female in 43rd place.

The  Unionville girls JV won the team championship also taking the top 3 places overall with a total of 134 participants. Leah Talley (20:28), Jillian Breslin (20:34) and Cami Rickenback (20:46) good for 1-2-3 overall. Unionville is so deep that these three underclassmen would have finished top runner for many other schools in the league for varsity.

For the Unionville boys today, Colin McDonald placed in the top 15 to medal with a 14th overall in the Ches Mont overall and an 11th place spot for the American Division. His time was 16:51.

The West Chester Henderson boys took home the team championship and should be a force to reckon with at the districts and states.  Henderson is coached by Kevin Kelly who owns Chester County Running Store and wins many local races  in the area.  Next up for the boys and girls are the District qualifying meet being held at Lehigh next Friday.

To see complete results including a break down of the National division and American Division results go to PENNXC.com on the web.

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