Trojans’ Camy Kiser places 2nd in PIAA X-C race

HERSHEY — In her three previous years of competing in the final cross country race of the season in Hershey, Camryn Kiser learned a thing or two.

Camryn Kiser

The Chambersburg senior put all of that knowledge to good use Saturday at the PIAA Cross Country Championships, when her experience and strategy paid off handsomely for a silver medal in the Class 3A girls race.

Kiser finished the race in 18:52.8, about 6 seconds behind the winner, Natalie McLean of Pine-Richland.

It was highest individual finish ever at states for a Trojan runner.

And Kiser wasn’t the only area runner to have a good day. The Trojan girls placed 10th as a team, and the Greencastle-Antrim boys placed 13th in 3A. The Blue Devils’ Claire Paci finished seventh in the 3A girls race and G-A’s Hayden Parks was 21st for the boys. Chambersburg’s Ari Snyder made a big jump to place 14th in 3A boys. All three of those runners claimed a state medal (top 25 finish).

“I’ve run at states for four years, and I know how the girls can get excited and go out too fast,” Kiser said. “So I hung back for a while and I didn’t burn myself out.”

Trojan coach Chris Monheim said, “Kiser ran a super race. We talked all week about being a little conservative early and the strategy worked perfectly. She was in the high teens at the mile mark and just worked her way up through the field.”

Claire Paci

Kiser was in 15th place after one mile, and still 13th after 2.5 K. By the two-mile mark, she had moved up into sixth place. At 4K (2.5 miles), she was tied for first with North Allegheny’s Wren Kucler, and McLean was half a second behind.

“There’s a bend before the final stretch and I was third,” Kiser said. “Then I was able to pass the second-place girl in that stretch, but I couldn’t catch the leader.”

Kiser had a strong finish to her career, winning the Mid Penn race, finishing fifth in District 3 and earning a silver medal at states.

“I’ve had a lot of good races this season,” she said. “I’ve handled them better mentally this year. At the Mid Penns I was calm, and at districts I felt a little pressure and was nervous. Today, I knew I had to stay calm and my team helped me do that. Having them here and competing was a big factor.”

Chambersburg’s other girls included Lexi Boyd (59th, 20:47.4), Madelyn Koons (76th, 21:01.6), Fernanda Orihuela (158th, 20:20.9), Samantha Faust (187th, 22:54.3) and Raegan Hepner (194th, 32:06.7.

Ari Snyder

Monheim said, “I was super excited about our day — the team put in a great effort to take 10th. They seemed to get better every week.”

Paci stayed with the lead pack throughout the girls 3A race, not far behind Kiser. At the 4K mark she was ninth, but was able to pick off two runners and grab seventh place in 19:04.7.

This was her third PIAA race and the junior has placed in the top 10 each year.

“That’s pretty good for 3A,” Greencastle coach Rich Secrest said.

The Trojans’ Snyder ran what coach John Ambrosio called “a brilliant race,” to place 14th in 16:37.9, improving greatly from his 16th place at districts.

Ambrosio said, “There were a number of kids that he beat for the first time this year. He ran a perfectly executed race — we wanted to go out decent, but not crazy. He was 47th at one mile, then 23rd at two miles, then in the last three-quarters of a mile, he picked off five more guys.”

Snyder earned the first medal for the Chambersburg boys since 1999, and he became only the second Trojan underclassman in the program’s 57 years to medal as a junior — the last time was in 1986.

Hayden Parks

“He was seventh at the Mid Penns, but he was the first Mid Penn runner to finish today,” Ambrosio said, “and he was the second District 3 kid to finish today and he was 16th in the district race. He was completely spent after the race, but he’s as mentally tough as a 25-cent steak.”

Parks took 21st this year in 3A after placing 19th last year in 2A. He finished the race in 16:56.5.

Secrest said, “He has made the transition to the higher classification nicely. Our boys team didn’t have the day we had hoped for, but we are extremely thankful for our successful season.”

Also competing for the Blue Devils were Dalton Noblit (78th, 17:33.0), Caden Hudson (89th, 17:46.7), Joel Amstutz (17:54.7), Kyle Baker (197th, 18:55.6), Cash Monn (207th, 19:05.9) and Isaac Boyer (234th, 20:26.4).