Canevin girls team up for title
Running may be an individual activity. However, cross country is a team sport.
And it took a group of lady harriers, running together, to pull off a coup for Bishop Canevin. Not only did the Lady Crusaders finish runner-up in the WPIAL Class A championships at Coopers Lake, they became the first cross country team in school history to qualify for the PIAA championships.
“It’s very exciting,” said Eric Shafer, who has been involved in the program for eight years, six as head coach. “I’m thrilled about the team qualifying. They all had solid performances and everyone stepped up.”
Becca Volz more than stepped up. She led the way. The freshman finished 15th overall with 21:14 time.
“Before the race, I told her, ‘you are going to be great’ and she was,” said Shafer. “Becca gave it her all and came up with her best.”
While Caroline DeFrank also gave it her all, even collapsing at the finish line, the senior’s best netted her 16th position, five seconds behind Volz. As a junior, DeFrank secured second place and the silver medal in the division.
“There was a lot of pressure on Caroline,” explained Shafer. “She’s a senior and she wanted to do well. It got the best of her.”
DeFrank, however, did help Canevin’s cause as did sophomore Leah Narkevic with her 18th place (21:29) and junior Mary Olivia Philbin with her 29th spot (21:54).
The Lady Crusders also received a critical performance from Bailey Burgess. The junior placed 44th overall with a 22.46 time. Not bad for somebody who played 90 minutes of soccer less than 17 hours prior in the WPIAL playoffs. Canevin lost, 1-0, in overtime to Sewickley Academy in a Class A first-round match.
“As a coach, you are concerned if they have any other energy left,” Shafer said. “If anyone could have handled it and come out well then it was Bailey. She knows when to step up. She is a competitor. You can’t keep her down.”
Because of her endurance and tenacity, Canevin prefers Burgess in the five spot. “That’s the most important in cross country. There’s a lot of competition there and that controls the most points,” Shafer explained. “There is a lot of pressure in that position.”
Now the Lady Crusaders, who also include freshmen Sarah Green and Ann Philbin, who both finished in the top 70, as well as Mary Francis Philbin, are in position to respond to even greater pressure. They will compete in the state championships set for this weekend, Nov. 1-2, in Hershey.
Class A boys
In other Class A competition, Andrew Rozsas was the lone individual PIAA qualifier. The Chartiers-Houston senior finished 20th overall. He clocked in at 18:09.