Huskies fourth in cross country debuts

REEDSVILLE – Mifflin County’s boys and girls cross country teams both placed fourth at the Big Valley Invitational on Saturday morning at the Indian Valley Middle school.

It was a good start for the Huskies for the 2014 season.

In the boys run, Keenan Walker, a senior, took top honors for Mifflin County with a 14th-place finish. He was clocked at 17:22 and had a 5:36 mile pace.

“I’m very pleased with the boys run today,” said Greg Loht, the boys coach, “We ran a time trial last Saturday and all of the times dropped today. I know State College and Altoona were at the top, but I think we were into them today.”

The senior-laden Mifflin County team finished with 116 points. Five of the top Husky runners were seniors. The only underclassmen in the top five was Trent Yoder, who was 36th with a time of 18:06.

Between Yoder and Walker came, Josh Aultz, 16th, 17:28; Anthony Schifano, 19th, 17:32; and Evan Becker, 31st, 17:53.

Rounding out the Mifflin County male runners were Andrew Kline, a senior, at 18:18 for 40th place and right behind him was Jay Ciccolini, a junior, with an 18:28 and 44th place.

The Mifflin County girls finished with 147 points and their top five runners finished between 22nd and 41st.

Alexis Kibe, a junior, was first from the team to cross the line with a time of 21:46 over the 3.1-mile course. Amanda Hassinger, another junior, was 24th with a time of 21:50.

“We are thrilled with our finish,” said first-year girls coach Jen Freed. “We didn’t have anyone up front, but we worked well as a pack and that is what we have been doing in practice.”

In fact, the first four girls were all underclassmen as Nos. 3 and 4 also were juniors. Kelsey Kennedy zipped around the course in 22 minutes and Margaret Wilson was just 12 seconds behind Kennedy and in 32nd place.

Senior Madison Elsesser rounded out the top five for Mifflin County at 22:32.

“I thought Alexis (Kibe) had an excellent race and Amanda was right behind her,” Freed said. “For Kelsey and Rebecca, it was their first varsity experience.”

Mifflin County’s Rebecca Peachey and Makenna Pollock were 48th and 56th, respectively.

Winning the girls race was Tori Dippold from Elk County Catholic, who finished 10 seconds ahead of Brooke Button, a freshman, from Coatesville. Dippold, a senior, ran a 19:22, while Button ran a 19:32.

Coatesville won the title with 103 points, while State College was second with 113. Lewisburg, the top Class AA team, was third with 118. Mifflin County did beat one of its top District 6 rivals, Altoona, by a point (148).

State College won the boys meet with 37 points and right behind the Little Lions was Altoona with 46 points. State College and Altoona had eight of the top 10 finishers.

One of those runners not wearing a State College or Altoona uniform was William Kachman, a junior, from Bedford with a time of 16:11.

“Keenan ran very well today” Loht said. “He and Josh pushed each other through the race. Our top runner, Darien Knudsen, did not run today because of an injury and will be out for several weeks.”

Mifflin County’s top runner in the JV boys race was Shane Sennett, who finished eighth. On the girls side, the top Husky JV finisher was Shyla Milligan, who was 19th.

Mifflin County will be in action on Tuesday with an away tri-meet at Carlisle in the Mid-Penn conference with Central Dauphin.