Knudsen medals in Mid-Penn

NEWVILLE – The Mifflin County cross country team came away from the Mid-Penn conference meet on Saturday with one All-Conference runner and some confidence going into to the Disteict 6 Class AAA meet on Oct. 26.

The meet was held at Big Spring High School.

Darien Knudsen, a junior, was 25th in the boys race; the first 35 finishers were awared medals and were named All-Conference. Mifflin County finished 12th as a team in the boys race, while the girls were 16th.

But, Mifflin County’s arch rival State College had an even better day. Not just better, but great: The Little Lions ran away with the boys run with a score of 72 and the girls were third with a score of 106.

Mifflin County netted 379 points in the boys meet, while the girls had 424.

Knudsen ran a 17:27 over the 3.1-mile course, which included several hills through a wooded area in the middle of the run.

“Darien has been our top runner all year,” Mifflin County coach Greg Loht said. “He has been looking for a big race to do well in and he found one today. I’m happy with the way the boys finished. We had two runners spiked and Josh Valez, who is in his frist year of cross country, was bleeding but never quit.”

After Knudsen, Mifflin County’s next two runners were 82nd and 83rd. Trent Yoder ran an 18:41 and Josh Aultz was close behind with an 18:42.

Rounding out the top five for the Huskies were Andrew Kline at 18:50 (93rd) and Valez, who was 96th with an 18:56.

Mifflin County’s other runners included Keenan Walker, 104th with a 19:03; Shane Sennett, 122nd with a 19:29; and Jay Ciccolini, 172nd with a 20:55.

Winning the meet was Cole Nissley of Lower Dauphin, a senior who ran a 16:16. Finishing second by one second was Carlisle’s Zach Brehm, who was nipped at the wire. Brehm, a junior, was the PIAA Class AAA 800-meter winner in track last spring.

State College had two runners in the top 10 with Will Cather sixth (16:48) and Chris Golembeski ninth (16:54). The Little Lions had five runners in the top 22.

In the girls end of the meet, the Huskies had a nice grouping, but it just wasn’t high enough to make a dent into the scoring. Only 1:53 separated the first five Mifflin County girls.

Leading the way was Amanda Hassinger, who was 66th with a time of 22:25. Next in line came Jessica Miller with a 22:45 and a 77th-place finish. Maggie Wilson wasn’t too far off the the Miller pace with a 22:53 good for the 83rd spot.

Makenna Pollock finished 100th with a time of 23:30. Rounding out the top five for Mifflin County was Madison Elsesser, who was 124th with a 24:20.

Anna Taptich was 153rd (25:52) and Shayla Milligan was right behind Taptich with a 25:53 and claimed the 154th spot. Kaitlyn Yearick was 157th with a 26:00.

“Amanda had a good race,” Loht said. “We got pinched at the start of the race. You have to run about a quarter of a mile at the start and then you have to funnel in and our start was at the far end of the course. I thought Jessica and Madison really ran well today.”

Chambersburg took top honors for the girls meet with 82 points, while Cumberland Valley (95) was second and State College (106) third.

Winning the race Mady Clahane of Cumberland Valley as the sophomore ran away from the field with an 18:53. Last year, as a freshman, she was fourth in the state race.

Finishing second was Chambersburg’s Courtney Group with a 19:40. State College had seven runners finish in the top 35.

Notes: The Athletic Director for the host school (Big Spring) is Jay Hockenbrock, the former East Juniata wrestler who won a state title in 1975. … Dickinson College uses the Big Spring course for some of its college meets. … Carlisle had the second best day to State College as its boys were second and the girls were fourth. … In the junior varsity run, Mifflin County had three male runners earn medals – Chris Falkner, Anthony Schifano and Chris Barger. … The top runners for the girls included Kierra Russler, Ally Knepp and Kristen Neavling. The lone girl winning a medal was Amber Reed.