NEWVILLE — The Chambersburg girls cross country team earned a ticket to the PIAA State Championships after putting together a third-place finish at the District 3 Championships on Saturday at Big Spring H.S.
Individually, two area runners placed in the top five in the Class 3A race — Greencastle-Antrim junior Claire Paci was the runner-up and Trojan senior Camryn Kiser placed fifth.
Chambersburg scored 148 points to finish behind champion Manheim Township (135) and Dallastown (140). The Trojans will compete as a team at the PIAA race next Saturday at Hershey.
“This group has exceeded expectations all season long,” Chambersburg coach Chris Monheim said. “We were picked to miss out on qualifying and we ended up just 13 points shy of a district title.”
Kiser won the Mid Penn race two weeks ago on the same course, but wasn’t able to duplicate that result. She still had a quality race, finishing in 18:35.2, about 15 seconds off her pace from Mid Penns.
Chambersburg put three more runners in the top 50 — freshman Madelyn Koons in 24th (19:39.0), junior Lexi Boyd in 28th (19:45.0) and senior Abi Bricker in 47th (20:28.1).
Also, sophomore Fernanda Orihuela took 59th in 20:32.0 and junior Samantha Faust finished 72nd in 21:06.3.
Monheim said, “We had strong performances from all seven girls today and the total team effort is why we are moving on.”
Paci improved 35 seconds from her time at the Mid Penn meet, running 18:45.8 two weeks ago and 18:10.2 on Saturday. That time was good enough to beat everybody except Dallastown’s Kailey Granger, who won with an excellent time of 18:04.0.
G-A coach Rich Secrest said, “Claire didn’t have her greatest race at Mid Penns, but I told her it was not the end of the word. I know she can do some pretty amazing things and she got her mojo back today.
“She went out with the top group today and when two of those girls broke out, she responded and was able to run down one of them in the last 800-1,000 yards. Working through adversity can help you improve and now she can focus on next week.”
Among other area runners, Waynesboro’s Kylie Bere placed 48th in 20:28.2 and Shippensburg’s Katharine Shope took 83rd in 21:16.6.