PIAA CROSS COUNTRY: Southern Columbia runners compete at states
HERSHEY - Southern Columbia's Andrew Steely wasn't sure what to expect on his return trip to the PIAA Class A state championships.
Two years ago, as a sophomore, Steely finished 84th with a time of 17:53 and got his feet wet at the state level. After failing to qualify as a junior, Steely overcame tendinitis this year to qualify again, and the senior finished 64th, but with a time four seconds slower.
His teammate, junior Colin Dudanowicz, qualified for the first time and finished 115th in 18:43.
South Williamsport junior Griffin Molino, who won the District 4 race by 1:22, was almost as dominant here, taking first in 15:54, a 31-second margin.
Steely said he and Dudanowicz got caught in the pack at the start and had trouble making headway.
"I had a hard time finding a pace," Steely said. "And I'm just not in shape. I talked with Mr. Vella (Danville runner Tyler Vella's father) before the race and he said it might be better to go out conservatively but down here, if
you let them get too far ahead, you're never going to get them back."
Dudanowicz said he was a little taken aback by the starting lineup of 224 runners.
"I came down here a little nervous but then I got to talking to some people before the race and I decided, 'Hey. it's just a race.' So I went out and did my best. But at one point I looked behind and I saw how many people were in back of me and I thought, 'This is one big race.'"
District 4 team champ Northeast Bradford, last year's state champs in A, finished third this year, despite losing two graduates to Penn State and the Naval Academy.