By Pete Chiodo
Meadville freshman Paige Yoder said she’s been running cross country since she was in the 5th grade.
Asked why she participated in the sport, her reply was a mix of assurance and, by contrast, a little 9th grade shyness.
She said, “Because I’m good at it.”
Few could argue with that after Yoder blazed through the 5K course at Meadville Area Senior High School in 20:40 — the eighth-fastest girls time in the loop’s history — helping her team notch a commanding 18-44 victory over Region 6 opponent Central Tech on Tuesday.
The Meadville boys team made it a sweep despite the absence of top runner Kyle Rose, beating the visiting Falcons 25-33
Yoder’s time would have made her eighth in the boys race. She crossed the finish line nearly a minute and a half ahead of second-place finisher Meredith Prather, another promising 9th grader for the Meadville girls.
“Our two freshmen, Paige Yoder and Meredith Prather, our 1-2 runners (Tuesday), are doing an outstanding job,” said Jones. “They’ve made improvements each and every meet.”
After those two, the Lady Bulldogs inundated the rest of top 10. The only spots taken by Central were third (Colleen Campbell, 22:17) and eighth (Sarah Kooker, 24:44). The rest belonged to MASH.
After Yoder and Prather, Libby Volna finished fourth in a time of 23:19. Abbey Peters was fifth (23:31), Paige Whitney was sixth (23:57). Lucy Volna was seventh (24:22), Sammy Whitney was ninth (25:29) and Maddie Moreland finished 10th (25:33).
“The girls ran well, as we can expect” said Jones. “We have groups of two. We’ve got the two freshmen, we’ve got Libby and Abbey running about the same time, and Paige (Whitney) and Sammy have been running the same times.”
The boys race was won by Central’s Bobby Danielson in 17:53.
Danielson trailed Meadville’s Matt Svetz for most of the race, then finally overtook him down the stretch. Svetz finished second in 18:00.
“Bobby’s a very good runner,” said Jones. “Not to take anything away from Matt’s running, I thought he ran great, but Bobby didn’t walk the course, they got here late. So he waited until about the half-mile (mark) and tried to take off at that point.
“But I’m pretty proud of Matt. He hung with him and tried to go with him when he left at the 800-meter mark and lost by 7 seconds in that match. I thought he had a great race. It was his best time.”
Central Tech’s Jacob Ames was third (18:19). But Meadville won the meet with a pack of runners in fourth (Louis McUmber, 18:37), fifth (Jack Stevens, 19:51) and sixth (Nick Rose, 20:11).
Central Tech’s Colton Barger took seventh (20:39). Then Meadville runners grabbed the next two spots to seal the win. Tommy Leech was eighth (20:47) and Daniel Shields was ninth (21:22).
As mentioned, Kyle Rose missed the race. He was dealing with a knee issue.
“We’re babying a little injury right now,” said Jones. “We’re trying to figure out what’s going on. He’s getting checked out at (Crawford County) Sports Medicine. The meet, we felt that we were strong enough to win this meet without. So we rested him.”
Both the Bulldogs boys and girls teams improved their dual meet records to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in Region 6. They will finish up their dual meet schedules on Oct. 8, hosting the boys of Cathedral Prep and the girls of Villa Maria.