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Perkiomen Valley’s Glodek, OJR’s Conway run away with titles

Bob Raines--Digital First Media Liam Conway (Owen J. Roberts) is first to finish at the PAC-10 cross country championships at Heebner Park, Worcester Oct. 20, 2016.

Bob Raines–Digital First Media
Liam Conway (Owen J. Roberts) is first to finish at the PAC-10 cross country championships at Heebner Park, Worcester Oct. 20, 2016.

It doesn’t quite rank as a Pioneer Athletic Conference record … or even all-time in the Perkiomen Valley girls program.

Still, Annie Glodek is fashioning herself a memorable finish to her scholastic cross-country career. The first step in her farewell tour came Thursday, when the Viking senior won the PAC girls championship meet at Heebner Park.

Bob Raines--Digital First Media Annie Glodek (Perkiomen Valley) is first across the finish line in the girls PAC-10 cross country championships at Heebner Park, Worcester Oct. 20, 2016.

Bob Raines–Digital First Media
Annie Glodek (Perkiomen Valley) is first across the finish line in the girls PAC-10 cross country championships at Heebner Park, Worcester Oct. 20, 2016.

Glodek ran away with the race, her 18:48 clocking a full 20 seconds ahead of the rest of the varsity field and five seconds better than her winning time last year. It was her third straight PAC title win, surpassed only by PV alumnae Becky Bullard (1996-99) and Methacton graduate Kara Steinke (2010-13) winning four in a row.

Glodek was nonetheless joyful about winning the race the three times in which she competed … even more so by her PV mates repeating as team champions, their top five runners placing in the Top 11.

“I felt like I had it under control,” she said.

On the boys’ side, Owen J. Roberts junior Liam Conway ran to a 10-second victory in the varsity event, improving on last year’s runner-up finish. And the Spring-Ford boys, running their tightest pack of the season, repeated as team champion after going 2-3-4-5-6 behind Conway.

“It was a gutsy race,” Conway said afterward. “I knew those (SF) guys were coming after me.”

Glodek had a six-second lead on OJR’s Ally Brunton — the girls’ eventual second-place finisher — at the one mile mark. She increased the distance the rest of the way, appearing in the stretch to be running alone.

In the process, she dealt with the temptation to look back to see how much separation she had from the other runners.

“If I do it once (look back), I do it the rest of the race,” she said. “So I held off from it as much as possible.”

Brunton ended up the best of the rest at 19:08, edging PV’s Teaghan Scheinbecker (19:10). Boyertown’s Gillian Kasitz was fourth in 19:18, followed by the Vikings’ Michele Daniels (19:22) in fifth.

“I knew going in she (Glodek) is crazy fast,” Brunton said. “We were working more for the team title.”

The Roberts girls ended up second with 45 points, behind PV’s 30. Their bid was aided by the Top 10 finishes of Mary Bernotas (seventh, 19:32) and Autumn Sands (eighth, 19:43).

Spring-Ford’s Gabriella Bamford (sixth, 19:27) and Isabella Marchini (ninth, 19:44) were other top 10 finishers.

“It was a wonderful race all-round,” Perk Valley head coach Ryan Sullivan said. “This (PAC) is one of the best leagues in the state. We got fantastic efforts from Teaghan and Jocelyn Rotay (10th, 19:53), and Michelle, who’s back from respiratory issues.”

In the boys’ race, Conway was just three seconds ahead of Spring-Ford’s Shane Ainscoe at the mile marker. But he kept the members of the Rams’ front-running pack (Ainscoe, Milan Sharma, Zachary Smith, pat Power, Jake McKenna) at bay for the rest of the race, improving his lead in the process.

“I knew the Spring-Ford guys were hard to crack,” Conway said.” They were with me the entire time. It was a mental battle.”

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Ainscoe led the Ram pack across the finish line with his 16:31 clocking, followed by Sharma (16:37), Smith (16:42), Power (16:48) and McKenna (16:49). Owen J’s Sean Barone (16:55) and Connor Murray (17:00) were sixth and eighth around Upper Perkiomen’s Landon Detweiler (16:57), with Boyertown’s Dominic DeRafelo placing 10th (17:06).

“This was our tightest pack yet,” Ainscoe said. “Being in the 25 to 30-second range is good, and we were 20 seconds apart.

“We try to tell each other to stay as close as possible, and to ‘hold on’,” he added. “For the most part, we were together.”

It’s a strategy the Spring-Ford five work on in practice … one they hope will pave the way for reaching the PIAA championship meet as a team.

“We group them in practice, working on them staying together,” Ram head coach Brian Sullivan noted. “It’s helped by the fact they’re all equally talented, and they do a good job not letting their egos get in the way.

“If they keep running like they did today, a bunch of them will get to states. We were sixth in districts last year, missing states.”

While his girls’ pack was not as tight as the Spring-Ford boys, PV head coach Ryan Sullivan liked what he saw in the first of three post-season championship meets on tap. The Vikings will move on to nexst weekend’s District 1 meet at Lehigh University, and look for a return to the state competition at Hershey the weekend of Nov. 5.

“The team’s showing resiliency,” Sullivan said. “We were fourth at states last year, so we want to improve on that.”

On the boys’ side, Pottsgrove senior Michael Neeson was his squad’s leading finisher, coming home 21st in 17:27. Pottstown’s Khalif Burgess was 50th, Phoenixville’s Christian Schaaf was 15th (17:14) and Methacton freshman Matt Varghese 14th (17:12).

In the girls’ race, Amia Slade (39th) was Pottsgrove’s top finisher. Yuliza Cruz led Pottstown with her 52nd-place run, Natalee Serwatka was 14th for Phoenixville (20:12) Methacton’s Carly Ukalovic 21st (20:57), Upper Perk’s Serena Detweiler 25th (21:14) and Pope John Paul II’s Caroline Frattone 55th.

NOTES >> Ryan Sullivan on Glodek, whose 2016 season has been further highlighted by a third-place finish in the PIAA Foundation meet at Hershey and a top 10 at the Paul Short competition: “She’s the perfect athlete to work with. You don’t get too many like her in a career. She’s a gigantic part of our team success.” … PV tuned up for the PAC meet one week ago by running against Methacton and North Penn on the Heebner Park layout. “It was a nice little preview for us,” Sullivan said. … Conway became just the second OJR runner to win a PAC boys’ race, the first Austin Craven in 2004. … With Glodek’s “threepeat,” Perk Valley girls have won the PAC meet 13 times in the league’s 31-year history. … The Upper Merion girls, first-year PAC members this fall, finished fifth in the team standings. Their leading runners wer Amber Strouse, 23rd in 21:07; and Morgan Morton, 24th in 21:10.

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