Repeat: G-A’s Paci, Long add more gold in District 3 X-C

NEWVILLE — The District 3 cross country championships on Saturday looked an awful lot like the Mid Penn Conference championships held two weeks ago.

Weber Long

The venue at Big Spring High School was the same and the winners looked the same, too — both wearing Greencastle-Antrim uniforms.

Sophomore Claire Paci captured first place in the Class 3A girls race, turning in a time of 18:29.7 on the wet 5,000-meter course. And senior Weber Long cruised to the boys 2A crown, winning in a time of 15:45.9, to help the Blue Devils place second as a team and qualify for states.

Chambersburg’s girls also had a good day, placing fifth in the 3A team standings and earning a berth in the PIAA Championships, which will be held next Saturday in Hershey.

Long’s winning time was 19 seconds faster than the 3A winner, and he finished 13 seconds ahead of Colin Whitaker of Lampeter-Strasburg. Long, who is bound for Wake Forest next year, won a district title last year and was a runner-up as a sophomore.

Greencastle coach Rich Secrest said, “I thought the time for 3A would be lower because they have more depth at the top, but Weber did really well. He pulled away after about a mile and a quarter and did what he needed to do.

“Next week, he won’t be the favorite, so we’ll just tell him to go for it and let his conditioning take over.”

The Blue Devils had not qualified for states as a team since 1999, so it was a huge accomplishment. They scored 67 points, while Lampeter-Strasburg won with 53.

Secrest said, “We needed all five guys to be perfect and we weren’t that far off from it. Most people did not expect us to be that close to L-S.”

Claire Paci

The other scorers for G-A were Hayden Parks in 6th place (16:36.1), Caden Hudson in 16th (17:09.3), Dalton Noblit in 27th (17:44.9) and Joel Amstutz in 33rd (17:57.5). Kyle Baker also took 61st in 18:33.5.

Paci had hoped to break 18:00, but with a wet and heavy course, that was not a priority.

“She was chasing a time under 18, but with conditions like this, times didn’t mean too much,” Secrest said. “She was back-and-forth with two girls from Wilson, and Claire did a great job reacting to what was going on.

“I think this was a breakthrough for her — to go head-to-head with good runners and with plenty of other good runners around you is nerve-wracking — and as a young runner she handled that today.”

For the Trojan girls, junior Camy Kiser posted a fifth-place time of 18:47.2 to help the team take fifth with 190 points. That put them behind Dallastown (102), Hershey (131), Mechanicsburg (142) and Exeter Township (184).

Olivia Rieck

“I’m very happy,” Chambersburg coach Chris Monheim said. “We haven’t qualified for states since 2017 and that was our seventh year in a row. So it’s nice to get back.

“Camy had her best finish at districts and I think she’ll be fighting for a top 10 next week. Getting Olivia (Rieck) back (from an injury) was big — she had a really nice day. She hadn’t run in a full race for a month, but she was tough in the last half mile and moved up five or six spots.”

Rieck finished in 25th place in 20:13.2. The other Chambersburg scorers were Lexi Boyd (48th, 20:49.8), Emma Armstrong (60th, 21:03.7) and Allie List (79th, 21:27.6), while Emilea Alleman (90th, 21:38.5) and Abigail Bricker (101st, 21:45.5) also competed.

Monheim said, “All of the girls sort of ran the same way — they didn’t start out great, but they finished strong and picked off some runners late. I was doubtful after two and half miles, but they moved up just enough for us to finish five points ahead of the sixth-place team (Manheim Twp.).”

The day was not as kind to the Chambersburg boys, who finished in 14th place. Senior Ben Colli ran a time of 16:59.2 to place 30th and qualify for states as an individual.

“That was the most disappointing district performance we’ve had,” Trojan coach John Ambrosio said. “We were expecting to challenge for fourth and a chance to go to states, but only Colli had a decent day. I could tell three-fourths of a mile into the race that we were having trouble.

“It’s a good group of kids, but maybe the moment was just too big for them. Potentially, we have a good team. We were ranked just outside of the top 10 in the state. So this was a bitter pill to swallow.”

Behind Colli were Ari Snyder (63rd, 17:28.8), Karter Reath (72nd, 17:36.1), Kaden Rife (102nd, 17:59.3) and Billy Prentice (122nd, 18:21.7), while Nick Monheim took a fall on the course and did not finish.

James Buchanan’s Sydney Fleming placed 14th in Class 2A girls with a time of 21:07.8 and qualified for states.

In Class 3A girls, Waynesboro’s Isabella Ruefle was 72nd in 21:18.9 and Shippensburg’s Nora Braun was 138th in 22:22.6.

In boys 3A, Waynesboro put Joseph Jacobs in 73rd (17:36.5) and Isaac Moats in 85th (17:50.6) and Ship’s Isaiah Shively was 146th in 18:36.4. JB’s Andrew Fleming placed 115th in 2A in 20:04.1.