As a sophomore, Haverford’s Mike Donnelly finished 101st at the PIAA Class 3A cross country championships.
A year later, he left Hershey with a medal.
The junior concluded his season with a 15th-place finish Saturday on a muddy course that was different than the route used since 2006. The PIAA decided on Thursday to switch from the Parkview Course to the one used for the PIAA Foundation meet because of wet conditions.
The change did not bother Donnelly. The Delco champ crossed the finish line in 16 minutes, 46 seconds to become the first Haverford runner to earn a medal at the state meet since David Fowler placed 23rd in 2013.
The top 25 individuals in each classification earn a medal.
Donnelly progressively moved through the field in the 3.1-mile race. He was 33rd after the first mile and 17th after two miles. Donnelly’s effort also helped the Fords finish ninth in the team competition, their best since an eighth place in 2005. Teammate Josh Fingerhut was 86th in the field of 218 runners. Evan Peetros (121st), Brendan Campbell (128) and Aiden Tomov (136th) rounded out the top five runners for the Fords.
Penncrest junior Patrick Theveny was the next best Delco finisher. He was 42nd overall in 17:09 despite a slow start. Theveny was 127th after the first mile and moved up to 54th at the two-mile mark. Teammate Benjamin Klinger placed 96th overall.
In Class 2A, junior Aiden Doherty of Archbishop Carroll was the top Delco finisher. He placed 45th in 17:53. Sophomore Brian McGarrity of Bonner & Prendergast was 93rd (18:18), while senior Josh Hayes of Cardinal O’Hara took 117th in 18:32.
Girls Cross Country
A lot of first-time cross country runners would like to have the rookie season Strath Haven senior Grace Forbes had.
After winning the Delco championship and taking third at the District 1 Class 3A championships, Forbes capped her year with a medal at the PIAA championships.
Forbes finished 24th in the girls Class 3A race, the lone medal winner from Delco. Forbes, the 2018 Daily Times Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year, finished in 20 minutes, 3 seconds despite falling twice on the muddy course. It was the best finish by a Strath Haven runner since Hannah Grossman was second in 2011.
Teammate Paige Day also had a strong day. The sophomore was 56th with a time of 20:39. She moved up 40 places from the two-mile mark to the finish.
Penncrest freshman Sophie Cohen had a strong debut at the state meet. She was 83rd overall and 14th among ninth-graders in 20:58.
Cardinal O’Hara’s Christine Mancini (108th) and Upper Darby’s Megan Cook (139th) rounded out the top five from Delco. Elicia Moore of Penn Wood was 169th.
West Chester Henderson’s Jenna Mulhern, the daughter of Strath Haven football great Patrick Mulhern, capped her incredible freshman season by winning the girls 3A race. Mulhern finished in 18:42 to beat Kileigh Kane of State College by 13 seconds.
In Class 2A, Charlotte McDermott of Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast was the top Delco finisher. She was 188th in 24:21. In Class A, Kayleigh Doyle from Sacred Heart was 74th in 22:16. Teammate Chiara O’Keefe was 118th.
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