SHARPSVILLE — There was no catching Mercyhurst Prep senior Sebastian Curtin, who was all alone coming across the finish line in the District 10 Class A cross country championship meet at Buhl Park on Saturday.
Curtin — last year’s Class A champ as well — had the top time of the entire morning, finishing the newly tweaked Buhl Park course in 16:38, nearly half a minute ahead of the No. 2 finisher, Seneca sophomore Donovan Myers (17:03).
Yet it was Myers and the Seneca boys claiming the Class A team title yesterday. Seneca was third a year ago. This time around, the Bobcat boys leap-frogged Mercyhurst to take first with 78 points. Mercyhurst was second again with 103 points.
Saegertown, meanwhile, was third with 114 points, falling short of its goal of a third straight D-10 crown.
“Nine points,” lamented Saegertown head coach Bill Hetrick. “We’ve got two kids going to states, so that’s good. ... We kind of knew that we were the outside team looking in. If I had to look you in the eye and give you a realistic version of what was going to happen, it’s what happened.”
Crawford County runners did, however, collected half of the 10 individual qualifying spots for the PIAA championship meet, which is this coming Saturday at the Parkview Cross Country Course in Hershey.
Of those five, Maplewood senior Hans Wentz was the top finisher, taking fourth in 17:16, the same spot he took a year ago at districts.
“I was pretty happy,” said Wentz. “I had a rough time in the middle of the race where I fell back a lot. But I was able to pull it back together and still finish first in the region. So I was happy with that.”
Saegertown senior Brendon Barclay was just a step behind Wentz in 17:16, taking fifth place.
“It was better than I raced last week,” Barclay said. He’s talking about his sixth-place performance at the Region 3 Invitational in Cochranton. “It wasn’t my day, I guess. The stars didn’t align. ... But I had one unlucky day. I had to put that behind me and bounce back and do what I know I can do. You can’t let it bring you down.”
Cochranton senior Nathan Kline completed a tight Region 3 trio across the finish line, taking sixth place in 17:17.
“I was glad, because I thought our region was the best region here,” said Kline, who will be making his third consecutive trip to the state meet. “We had me, Barclay, Hans, Cambridge was there, Brad Amy. We were all right there.”
Then came that aforementioned Saegertown runner, junior Brad Amy. He was seventh in 17:19.
“That was good,” said Amy. “I raced as hard as I could and gave it my all. On this course, with how sloppy it was today, (the time) was really good.”
Two spots away in ninth was Cambridge Springs sophomore Connor Walsh, who posted a time of 17:23 to make his second straight trip to the state meet.
“It was pretty crazy,” said Walsh. “I thought I was going to get caught towards the end, because there was a pack of guys right behind me. But I managed to pull through.”
Another area runner, Lakeview freshman Zac Tingley, punched his ticket to Hershey with a 13th place time of 17:39.
“I was so nervous,” said Tingley. “There were so many teams. I also don’t like this course. I don’t like how you have to go through two laps around and go up that hill and back down. I just don’t like it.”
Some other top runners for Saegertown, included junior Wyatt Fleischer in 16th (17:51) and junior Garrett Johnston in 19th (18:04).
Cochranton finished sixth as a squad with 184 points. After Kline, junior Kyle Mudger was the next highest finisher for the Cards, taking 24th in 18:14. Ben Baker, another junior, added a 37th-place finish in 18:37.
Maplewood, meanwhile, was one of three teams — along with Commodore Perry and North East — that scored 269 points during the meet, which tied them each for eighth place. Following Wentz, Tigers sophomore Jeremy Gallagher finished in 50th place in 19:10.
Union City was 13th as a team with 310 points. Junior Aaron Taylor paced the Bears with a 23rd-place time of 18:13. Junior Daniel Gardner was 41st in 18:41.
Cambridge Springs followed in 14th. Junior Steele Henderson was among the Blue Devils’ leaders with a time of 18:10, good for 21st.
Lakeview was 15th as a team with 351 points. Other than Tingley, junior Chris Drozynski was another top-50 performer, taking 47th in 19:04.