Unionville girls take 2nd in X-Country Districts

For boys: Contestoga wins, WC Henderson 2nd, Downingtown West 5th

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times


Unionville’s Oliva Young finished second in the District One AAA Cross Country meet at Lehigh, Friday, as the Indians took second overall and will advance to the PIAA meet next week in Hershey.

LOWER SAUCON — You’d have to look all the way back to 2009 to find a year when neither of the team trophies (champion and runner-up) at the District 1 Girls Class AAA Cross Country Championships found their way back to a display case at a Ches-Mont League school. In 2009, North Penn won both the girls’ meet and the boys’ meet.

For the last four years — even though there are more than 50 teams in the race — the trophies have been captured by either Unionville or Pennsbury. The Indians were second in 2011 and then beat the Falcons in 2012 and 2013. At Friday’s meet at Lehigh University’s Goodman Campus, Pennsbury regained the top spot.

Pennsbury snagged the team championship trophy with 64 points. Unionville was second at 95, followed by Great Valley in third at 206, Conestoga fourth at 259 and Central Bucks East fifth with 261. All five squads qualified as teams for next weekend’s PIAA Championships in Hershey.

Setting the pace for Unionville was Olivia Young, who crossed second with a time of 17:41. Young was sandwiched between Pennridge’s Marissa Sheva, who won the gold medal with a clocking of 17:28, and Pennsbury’s Olivia Sargent, who claimed the bronze medal with a time of 17:51.


Unionville’s Kacie Breeding finished just behind Downingtown West’s Aislinn Devlin, who was fifth.

“The first 400 was pretty hard because it funnels in,” said Young, a senior. “By the 600 (meter mark), I was a little behind the front pack. By the mile, I was right with a couple Pennsbury girls (Hannah Molloy, Meridith Twomey and Sargent) and a C.B. West girl (Maddie Villalba).

“After the mile, Marissa and Olivia started breaking off and I went with them and stayed with Marissa for awhile. Around the mile-and-a-half, I fell back a little and Olivia was with me.

“In the second half of the race, Marissa opened it up and I tried to go with her. I was behind her looking at her ponytail and trying to close the gap. I tried to pick it up in the last 800 but she stayed strong.”

Unionville’s other finishers were Kacie Breeding (sixth, 18:25), Gretchen Mills (21st, 19:03), Anna Juul (22nd, 19:04), Jillian Brislin (44th, 19:33), Leah Talley (68th, 19:59) and Elizabeth Edwards (94th, 20:18).

Great Valley secured its trip to the state meet with these runners on Friday — Elise Calffey (12TH, 18:46), Anna Willig (37th, 19:24), Tabitha Wismer (42nd, 19:31), Emily Meehan (57th, 19:44), Sarah Hipwell (58TH, 19:47), Kayla Beck (88th, 20:15) and Kari Lownes (227th, 21:43).

The Ches-Mont placed two other runners in the Top 10 — Coatesville’s Brooke Hutton, who finished fourth at 18:20, and Downingtown West’s Aislinn Devlin, who was fifth at 18:25.

“I was nervous about running districts for the first time,” said Hutton, a Red Raider freshman. “But, I was also excited. I wanted to see how I’d compare to great runners like Marissa Sheva.

“I got out pretty good. I was up in front but I was being careful that I didn’t go out too fast. I was somewhere between fifth and seventh at the mile. The second mile felt hard and long.


Downingtown West’s Emma Planck took 10th overall.

“In the third mile, I was just trying to keep my pace and making sure no girls passed me. I was sixth at the two mile. I moved up one place and then, in the final 100 meters, I passed one more girl — Aislinn Devlin.”

Devlin, who led the Whippets to a seventh-place finish in the team standings, said, “I got boxed in at the start and had to struggle to get to the front. Olivia (Young) and Marissa (Shevea) took off so I just tried to hang with the front group behind them.

“I’m a little disappointed with my race. I should have gone up the hills harder. But, I recently missed to-and-a-half weeks of training with tendinitis in my foot so I’m just getting back in shape.”

Other Ches-Mont runners who qualified as individuals for the state meet were Downingtown West’s Emma Planck (10th, 18:41), West Chester Henderson’s Maddie Bixler (15th, 18:50), Oxford’s Elaine Estes (24th, 19:05) and West Chester Rustin’s Jess Delviscio (30th, 19:09).

In the Girls’ Class AA district meet, Octorara’s Caroline Stickley finished seventh at 20:11 to help the Braves finish 11th in the team standings. Lower Moreland (74) edged Gwynedd-Mercy Academy (76) for the district crown.

In the Boys’ Class AAA meet, Conestoga claimed the top spot with 152 points followed by West Chester Henderson at 160, Central Bucks West with 169 points, Council Rock North with 208 and Downingtown West at 227. The top five teams qualify for next weekend’s PIAA Class AAA Championships in Hershey.

Central Bucks East’s Jake Brophy crossed first with a time of 15:11. Conestoga’s Andrew Marston was second at 15:18 followed by Hatboro Horsham’s Casey Comber at 15:19, Pennsbury’s Sam Webb at 15:26 and Spring-Ford’s Paul Power at 15:31. West Chester Henderson Knapp was sixth with a time of 16:46.

Downingtown West was led by Henry Sappey at the big meet at Lehigh University’s Goodman Campus just south of Bethlehem. The Whippet junior took seventh place with a clocking of 15:48.

“Everyone went out hard,” said Sappey. “There was a lot of wind on the first straightaway so that bumped up the effort level. I got up close to the front early in the race. By the mile-and-a-half, I was close to the top 10.

“The second mile was all right but there was still a lot of wind. I just tried to keep my pace up. The second mile I ran mostly with my Knapp. The other five were way out in a pack in front of everybody else.

“Then, in the last 800, Knapp got the better of me. He passed me with about 200 meters left in the race. Still, I’m happy with seventh place — absolutely. There’s no district like District 1 in terms of talent. It was a dogfight for the top 10.”

West’s other finishers were Ryan Barton (42nd, 16:32), Shaun Bullock (55th, 16:41), Ben Ryherd (58th, 16:44), Charlie Barton (65th, 16:48), Jake O’Neil (68th, 16:49) and Patrick Blair (80th, 16:54).

Not surprisingly, the Ches-Mont League accounted for many of the individual qualifiers for the PIAA meet — West Chester East’s Eric Diestelow (eighth, 15:54), West Chester Rustin’s Jack Carmody (12th, 16:02), Kennett’s Austin Maxwell (25th, 16:21), Downingtown East’s Keelan O’Reilly (26th, 16:21) and Avon Grove’s Josh Smith (33rd, 16:27).

In the Boys’ Class AA district meet, Seamus Breslin (fourth, 16:52) led Bishop Shanahan (82) to a third-place finish behind Pottsgrove (29) and Holy Ghost Prep (64).

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