Cross country team wins big at WPIALS, produces qualifying times for second consecutive year

Claudia Huggins, Editor-in-Chief

After a thrilling start to this year’s cross country season, the team is more than ready to maintain their success, however keeping up with practices after school is only the beginning of their ride to victory.

The team continued their season on Sept. 11 at Mohawk against Beaver Falls High School. Junior Adam Hessler came in first place out of 32 with a time of 15:27, senior Andrew Kalamasz came in

A multi-team meet was held at Mohawk on Sept. 18 against Ellwood and Laurel. Adam Hessler came out with first place with a time of 19:10. Freedom swept Ellwood and Laurel 50-15 for both when scored team-wise.

On Sept. 22, the team traveled to Sharpsville for the Sharpsville Invitational. Ellwood City, North Catholic, McDowell, Neshannock and New Castle were only a few of the 50 plus schools there competing. Adam Hessler earned third place out of 298 competitors with a time of 16:27. Sophomore Jacob Harp earned 244th with a time of 21:47. Senior Andrew Kalamasz followed in 280th with a time of 24:11.

Sophomore Bailey Roberts was the only girl on the varsity girls team to compete. Roberts earned 98th place out of 277 other varsity girl competitors with a time of 22:37.

A short three days later on Sept. 25, the team competed at New Castle against Neshannock and Riverside. Adam Hessler came in first with a time of 18:21, Harp came in fourth with a time of 20:29 and Kalamasz earned 11th with a time of 26:42. The team topped Neshannock in team scoring 50 to 15. Riverside and Freedom were not scored against each other because they each had less than five runners.

Oct. 2, the team competed against the New Brighton Lions at their shared home course, Brush Creek Park. Adam Hessler received a time of 14:32 earning him first place; he also reported that race was half a mile short that day. A usual race is about five kilometers.

On Oct. 6 the team traveled to the Grove City Invitational. Competing for the varsity boys that day was Adam Hessler, who earned sixth out of 107 with a time of 17:18, and who Kalamasz placed 101st with a time of 26:03. Roberts also competed that day for the varsity girls race and earned 35th out of 92 with a time of 23:17 as she crossed the finish line.

The Midwestern Atlantic Conference (MAC) Championships took place on Oct. 11 at Brush Creek Park. Adam Hessler received a steller second with a time of 17:33, only behind junior Zachary Leachman of Mars High School, who reached the finish line with a time of 17:18. Kalamasz also competed in the race earning a time of 27:11, and sophomore Tyler Waggoner received 33:24. For the varsity girls, Roberts ran a 23:55 earning her 30th out of 136.

Freedom hosted its annual invitational on Oct. 17 at Brush Creek Park, with an attendance of over 20 different schools, and did not disappoint. Adam Hessler finished the race in first out of 144 with a time of 16:49, Kalamasz in 131st with a time of 26:41 and Waggoner in 141st with a time of 31:40. Racing again for the varsity girls, Roberts placed 11th with a time of 22:29.

On Oct. 25, the team traveled all the way to California University once again. However, this was for the biggest race of the year: WPIAL Championships. For the team, the day began at 8:30 a.m. when the team left school in the middle of first block. Running for the varsity girls that day was Roberts who placed 30th out of 164 with a time of 22:32, qualifying her for states for the second consecutive year.

Racing for the boys was Adam Hessler, Ethan Paxton, Garrett Paxton, Waggoner and Harp. Adam Hessler came first in the WPIAL out of 209 runners with a time of 17:03, Jay Hessler placed 42nd with a time of 19:10, Garrett Paxton earned 71st with a time of 20:08, Harp placed 99th with a time of 20:59, Ethan Paxton earned 102nd with a time of 21:08, Kalamasz placed 165th with a time of 25:20 and Waggoner earned 180th with a time 31:05.