Runners Cross State for Cross Country States


Photo courtesy of Liz Haushalter

Girls’ cross country competitors swarm across the start line on November 2nd for the PIAA State meet. “This was what we had been training for, and I was ready,” State College freshman Marlee Kwasnica said. Kwasnica finished in seventh place with a time of 19:09.

Quincy Steidle, Sports Editor

On November 2nd, over 450 athletes from 19 schools across the state of Pennsylvania flooded the course at the PIAA Cross Country State Championships. Members of the State High girls’ and boys’ cross country teams traveled by van to Hershey, PA where they stayed overnight in a hotel the night before the five-kilometer race.

“It was a fun environment until race day when we were all focused,” senior Ben St. Pierre said. On the day of the race, each State High team sent seven runners to the starting line. The girls’ team finished second overall and the boys’ team finished ninth. Junior Brady Bigger finished ninth, with a time of 16:23, and St. Pierre crossed the finish line seventeen seconds later in sixteenth place overall.

“My States performance was mediocre,” Bigger, State High’s top finisher, said. While Bigger’s time at the State meet paled in comparison to his personal best 15:59 time at the district meet, he still acknowledged his pride at pacing the team at States.

“I was very happy with my placement because I felt like the race was a culmination of the season as a whole and my hard work paid off,” he said. 

“The States course is painful, and I’m glad it’s my last time,” St. Pierre said. “But it was kind of sad lacing up with the boys for the last time.” The rest of the boys’ team members all finished in the top half of the competition, including sophomore Sean Adams, junior Bennett Norton, senior David Gluckman, senior Henry Ballard, and sophomore Charles Endres.

The girls’ average time was only nine seconds behind the first-place team. Freshman Marlee Kwasnica finished seventh overall with a time of 19:09.

“It means a lot as a freshman because it gives me confidence going into the next three years that I can do big things,” Kwasnica said.

Other top finishers for State High included senior Lizzie Gilpatrick, who finished in thirteenth place with a time of 19:30 as well as junior Jordan Reed who finished in 19:38 for sixteenth place. Senior Elle Haushalter, junior Maggie Leahey, junior Karsyn Kane, and junior Mihret Strauss finished in the top half of the competition.

Although this meet was the last of the season, the girls’ and boys’ runners will strap the spikes back on next week for the indoor track season, which starts November 18th.