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Wrecker boys, Raider girls sweep

They are no longer a secret in Schuylkill League boys cross country.

They no longer will sneak up on any team.

Weatherly has earned a spot among the league’s elite and are proving it’s deserved.

The Wreckers dominated a four-team league matchup on Wednesday afternoon.

The Wreckers had no problems sweeping to the victory as Jacob Parker, Ricky Ray and Frankie Willis grabbed the top three spots. Meanwhile, their teammate, Michel Berger, added a fifth-place finish, while Nathan Tripp placed 23rd.

Weatherly chalked up the win by outscoring Tri-Valley, 19-36; Tamaqua, 22-39; and the host Lehighton, 23-34.

Meanwhile, in the girls race, an energized Tamaqua team is starting to hit its stride as turned to its senior leader Grace Stegemerten to pull off a sweep of its own.

Stegemerten took down the top spot in a time of 21:35 to lead all the runners, including Tri-Valley’s Samantha Masser - who is one of the league’s best.

The Blue Raiders out-legged Lehighton, 19-38; outran Weatherly, 21-40; and staved off the strong Tri-Valley, 26-30.

Another strong outing

Weatherly continues to impress as the season starts to wind down.

Parker, a seasoned senior, hit the finish line in a time of 18:26, exactly 10 seconds ahead of his running pal Ray. Berger wasn’t all that far behind with a clocked time of 19:01. Lehighton’s Owen Searfoss finished fourth in 19:09.

“We’re starting to hit our stride,” Weatherly coach Ryan Kately said. “I’m happy for the way they’re running, but I know we can still do better. Jacob Parker and Ricky Ray are our leaders, and they’re really doing a great job for us.”

Weatherly, now 9-0 in Division III, dominated Wednesday’s outing as Parker and Ray, Willis and Berger all picked up big scoring points.

“My legs were kind of heavy, and I felt a little tired,” was the way Parker described his run in taking the top spot. “I was excited to get to the finish line.”

As for Ray, he too, had a little leg weariness

“I didn’t get out to a good start, and I felt a little tired,” he said. “Jacob and I were neck-and-neck the whole race.”

Willis said he needs to continue to improve with big postseason races right around the corner.

“It’s kind of a weird course with the loop here,” Willis said. “I had a late start, but I’m getting there.”

Tom Kanger, the successful Tamaqua coach, sees his team improving as the Raiders had three runners in the top 10. Stephen Kieffer (19:29), Levi Kunkel (19:50) and Adam Schock (19:52) led the way in taking the sixth, seventh and eight spots, respectively. Also picking up points for Tamaqua in 12th and 13th place were Tony Marchetti (20:13) and Jesse Garmley (20:19), respectively. Brady Boyce (20:24) also had a strong race, finishing 15th.

“Owen (Searfoss) ran well,” Lehighton coach Erica Pagotto said about the team’s top runner, who had missed nearly two weeks with an injury.

Brandon Hall (20:01) checked in with an 11th-place run for Lehighton and Kadden Kresge was 14th.

Grace on the move

It was a strong outing for Tamaqua’s Stegemerten, who was battling one of the league’s finest in Tri-Valley’s Masser. She had lost to Masser at the Tri-Valley Invitational a few days ago, but came back with a big win yesterday.

“It was a good race, I ran hard,” Stegemerten said. “I used everything I was taught (in) practice. My stride, how to hit the hills. It was tough to beat Masser because she’s such a competitor and a great runner. So this felt good.”

Helping to add valuable points for Tamaqua was Mia Jones, who ran a 24:10 race and finished fifth. Adding to the scoring were Isabella Jones (25:11), Ashley Jones (26:17) and Hailey Williams (26:18). That trio placed eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively.

“They’re coming together and getting much faster,” Kanger pointed out about the Lady Raiders. “Grace ran well today. Mia ran well. I knew we had a chance (to sweep) today. I was a little concerned about Tri-Valley because even though they are a smaller team, they are talented.”

Lehighton’s Katie Wojton (24:09) had a big day when she raced home to take the fourth spot - just nudging Jones at the tape. Wojton kicked in a strong finish and in the final 10 yards got by Jones.


Tamaqua 22, Lehighton 35

Lehighton 25, Tri-Valley 32

Weatherly 23, Lehighton 34

Tamaqua 19, Tri-Valley 30

Weatherly 22, Tamaqua 35

Weatherly 19, Tri-Valley 36

1. Jacob Parker (W) 18:26, 2. Ricky Ray (W), 3. Frankie Willis (W), 4. Owen Serfass (L), 5. Michael Berger (W), 6. Stephen Kieffer (T), 7. Levi Kunkel (T), 8. Adam Schock (T), 9. Caden Leonara (TV), 10. Wyatt Leitzel (TV), 11. Brandon Hall (L), 12. Tony Marchetti (T), 13. Jesse Gormley (T), 14. Kaden Kresge (L), 15. Brody Boyce (T).


Tamaqua 19, Lehighton 38

Tamaqua 26, Tri-Valley 30

Tamaqua 21, Weatherly 40

Lehighton 23, Weatherly 38

Tri-Valley 23, Lehighton 32

Tri-Valley 21, Weatherly 40

1. Grace Stegemerten (T) 21:35, 2. Samantha Masser (TV) 22:19, 3. Paige Mitchell (TV) 22:30, 4. Katie Wojton (L), 5. Mia Jones (T), 6. Danielle Gordon (W), 7. Kendall Gerhart (W), 8. Jaelyn Pennypecker (TV), 9. Isabella Jones (T), 10. Ashley Jones (T), 11. Hailey Williams (T), 12. Gianna Sube (L), 13. Ellie Wolfgang (TV), 14. Abby Meckes (L), 15. Alexis Jones (T).

A trio of Weatherly runners lead the pack at the start of Wednesday's cross country meet. Jacob Parker (center) finished first, Ricky Ray (right) placed second, and Frankie Willis (left) was third as the Wreckers swept the four-team meet. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS