T-D HS Cross Country

Devils, Eagles win conference crowns

By: Mike Mastovich

SIDMAN — Alyssa Brandis is a seasoned veteran on the cross country course, and it showed on a sunny but cool Wednesday afternoon at Forest Hills Middle School.
William Kachman is a freshman who doubles as a soccer player during the fall sports season. But like Brandis, he showed plenty of poise at the LHAC Championship Meet.
Brandis repeated as the girls individual champion and helped her Central Cambria squad win its eighth consecutive conference championship meet.
“We push each other like no other team does,” Brandis said after finishing in 19:25.
“We’re like a family. We love each other to death.
“We’re like sisters.”
Newcomer Kachman took the top prize in his first conference meet with a 16:48 and was part of a solid effort by the runner-up Bisons, who finished just two points behind a deep Somerset title-winning team.
“I didn’t have a strategy. Just to win,” Kachman said. “I ran against (the field) earlier this year and beat them. I sort of was a little bit cocky, maybe a little bit too much. I felt a little bit too cocky coming in.”
In the girls race, Central Cambria had 45 points, 25 better than runner-up Somerset (70). The last LHAC girls team to win other than the Devils was Westmont, which won by a point over Central Cambria in 2004. The Devils also won in 2003.
“We work our tails off,” said Central Cambria sophomore Jordan Hayward, sixth with a 20:36 time. “We work hard all the time and only get one day off a week. We work through the summer. We put our time in and work like a family.”
Freshmen Hannah Swope (ninth, 20:57) and Jackie Bracken (10th, 21:07) gave the Red Devils four top-10 finishers. Senior Olivia Lipnic was 20th at 21:55.
“I think it’s an accomplishment for all of our team,” Swope said. “It makes us feel good about ourselves and gets us pumped for districts.”
“We all push each other every single day,” added Bracken. “We’re very close, like sisters. That helps a lot when you’re on the course, just to know they’re out there pushing us and working together.”
Somerset freshman Haylee Rohrer finished second in the girls race (20:06).
Forest Hills' Kacie Erb (20:26) placed third, and Penn Cambria’s Arlee Simendinger (20:32) and Bedford’s Emilee Fierro (20:32) were fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Somerset boys used depth to earn the LHAC crown.  
Seventh-place junior Ravi Desai and ninth-place junior Nick Bastian led The Golden Eagles.
Somerset’s numbers prevented the the field from picking up valuable points. Somerset had eight runners in the top-30.
“We have a lot of depth,” said Somerset coach Tom Minnick, whose team also was undefeated in LHAC dual-meet action.
“Our stronghold all year long has been our pack in the middle. We have some nice frontrunners but we also have a good pack that comes in the back.”
Bedford had Kachman, third-place Zane Baker and sixth place Tanner Williams.
Westmont’s Kevin Daily was runner-up at 17:17. Richland’s Nick Marx and Julius Eckroth were fourth and fifth, respectively.
“Bedford really made it close,” Minnick said.
“They’ve got three outstanding kids out front and their fourth kid (Lane Karns, 20th) was in the hunt. 
“That made for an interesting race.”

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