Greensburg Salem boys cross country makes history with state title
HERSHEY -- How do teams celebrate titles? Some Super Bowl champions go to Disney World.
The Greensburg Salem boys cross country team, after winning the PIAA Class AA team title Saturday at the Parkview cross country course, went to nearby Hersheypark for some thrilling adventures.
Nothing was more thrilling than winning a state championship. The Golden Lions, led by the senior trio of Cam Binda, Mark Brown and Dylan Binda, became the school’s first boys team to win a state title.
Greensburg Salem, also the WPIAL champion, finished with 63 points. Indiana was second with 100. Cam Binda was fifth, Brown 11th and Dylan Binda 21st. The other WPIAL runners to place were: Quaker Valley junior Daniel Ford (20th) and New Castle junior Anthony Litrenta (22nd).
“I was a fun race to run,” Cam Binda said. “It took teamwork and racing off each other and sticking together all season. The park will be chilly, but it still will be fun.”
Dylan Binda said the hard work in the summer paid off.
“We knew me, my brother and Mark would be good,” Dylan Binda said. “We knew the guys behind us needed to put in some work, and they did.”
Brown said preparation was the key.
“We were ready to go, and we made it happen,” Brown said. “We followed our gameplan and were consistent all season.”
After learning his team won the title, Greensburg Salem coach Nathan Snider pumped his fist and celebrated. Then he joined his runners and celebrated some more with hugs and high-fives.
“It’s something you work for and hope that it happens,” Snider said. “When you start coaching, you never know if it will happen.
“It takes a lot of talent, and you combine that with hard work and discipline. They put it together (Saturday), and they’ve done it all season and it was awesome.”
Snider’s dad, Steve, was the girls coach who won the PIAA Class AAA title in 1993.
Sophomore Ethan Kelley and junior Mason Jobe placed fourth and fifth for the team, and sophomore Quinton Gatons and junior Dom Zucco also contributed in the victory. Junior Noah Calisti was held out of the race with an injury.
It was a big day for North Allegheny as the boys and girls claimed titles.
The NA boys won the Class AAA title for the 12th time, and the NA girls won their fourth overall but first since 1999.
“It’s a dream come true,” North Allegheny coach John Neff said. “It’s hard to believe this happened. The boys were focused and did the same things as the girls.”
The NA boys finished with 90 points to edge La Salle College, which had 112. Seneca Valley finished third with 122 points, and Mt. Lebanon was next with 134.
Mt. Lebanon junior Patrick Anderson held off a late charge from North Allegheny senior Zach Kinne and junior Daniel McGoey to win the individual race. Anderson was the only WPIAL runner to win an individual title. His winning time was 16 minutes, 3 seconds.
After crossing the finish line, he and McGoey walked arm-in-arm away from the finish line. Later, Anderson embraced his mother, Meghan.
“I knew it would be a strength race because of all the mud,” Anderson said. “That’s my kind of race, and I was ready for it. I knew I had to keep on digging and stay at the top. I knew if I could get to the end with them, I wasn’t going to lose.”
Winchester Thurston finished second in the Class A boys race with 100 points. Jenkinstown won with 49 points. Riverview finished eighth with 179 points.
The Bears, who feature five underclassmen, were led by junior Scott Routledge in fifth overall, followed by junior Sean Heintzleman (25th), sophomore Benjamin Bermann (31st), sophomore Gus Robinson (32nd) and sophomore Patrick Malone (67th).
The NA girls used strong performances from junior Hannah Lindgren (fourth overall), sophomore Keeley Misutksa (12th), freshman Rachel Hockenberry (17th), junior Caroline Daggett (27th) and freshman Maura Mlecko (43rd).
The Tigers finished with 65 team points to outdistance West Chester Henderson, which finished with 106. Fox Chapel, the returning champion, placed fifth and Oakland Catholic was seventh.
“We have everything you need to have an amazing team,” Lindgren said. “We have depth, but we’re all very close. We have a lot of hard-working girls. We have a lot of fun.
“I’m beyond thrilled. I’m so proud of the girls and so excited for the boys.”
Other WPIAL girls runners to finish in the top 25 were: Fox Chapel senior Sarena Seeger (fifth), Moon freshman Mia Cochran (seventh), Oakland Catholic senior Hannah Schupansky (eighth), Fox Chapel junior Grace Sisson (ninth), Bethel Park sophomore Emily Carter (11th) and Kiski Area senior Kierra Shreffler (13th).
In the Class AA girls race, South Fayette finished fourth behind Central Cambria (92), Danville (105) and Northwestern Lehigh (116). The Lions had 149.
Greensburg Salem’s girls finished ninth with 234 points.
The top WPIAL runner in Class AA was Brownsville junior Gionna Quarzo, who placed sixth. The other top 25 finishers were Quaker Valley junior Annie Wicker (eighth), South Fayette junior Hailey Poe (17th) and Avonworth junior Anna Igims (25th).
In Class A, the top WPIAL team was Vincentian, which finished fourth behind Marion Center (96), Union City (139) and St. Joseph Catholic from District 6 (145). Vincentian had 159 points.
There were only five girls who placed in the top 25 in Class A. The top WPIAL runner was Shenango sophomore Carmen Medvit in fifth. The others finishers were: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart junior Haley Hamilton (seventh), North Catholic freshman Alaina Hicks (18th), Vincentian junior Holly Walters (22nd) and Northgate senior Megan Wisniewski (23rd).