Pennridge’s Sheva races to gold; CB West boys, Dock girls advance at District 1 Championships

BETHLEHEM — They walked away from the finish line, arm around the other. It was another classic battle on the course.

“Olivia and I have been racing each other probably since we were about 10 years old,’ Pennridge’s Marissa Sheva said of Pennsbury’s Olivia Sargent. “I ran for St. Agnes-Sacred Heart, she ran for St. Ignatius, so we would race against each other in all of the postseason meets. It’s nice to be running against each other — there’s a comfort there.’

Side by side for the first mile and a half, Sheva then went to a gear that no one else in District One could match, pulling away to a winning time of 17 minutes, 28 seconds to earn her first District One Class AAA gold medal.

It was also a landmark day for the Central Bucks West boys and Christopher Dock girls programs, as the Bucks qualified for states as a team for the first time and the Pioneers left Lehigh University with their first ever district team title.

After earning the silver medal as a sophomore, Sheva had her junior year nearly wiped out when she came down with Mono. She battled to a ninth-place at districts a year ago.

This year, she was at full strength, and all by herself down the final straightaway.

“I felt really good,’ the senior said. “The start was really rough because everybody went out so fast and thank God I found Olivia. We were kind of able to get through the pack. I decided to pull away about a mile and a half in, going up one of the hills, and then immediately regretted my decision (laugh).

“But I knew if I just settled in, Olivia or Olivia Young (of Unionville) were gonna come back to me. So then I just finished as hard as I could.’

Young finished second in the race, crossing in 17:41, with Sargent pacing the Falcons to the team title, taking third in 17:51.

The CB West girls just missed qualifying as a team, placing sixth, but the Bucks’ Maddie Villalba is headed to Hershey by virtue of her seventh-place finish in 18:32.

Wissahickon’s Lotte Black (14th/18:48), along with North Penn’s Ali Valenti (28th/19:08) and Phoebe Clowser (36th/19:23), will also be making the trip.

The West boys were a tight pack at Lehigh, led by Rock Fortna (13th/16:03).

“This feels awesome. We put in a lot of work and it just feels great to have it pay off,’ Rock said. “This course — it’s not too hilly, not too flat. It’s got some secluded areas — it’s just got everything. It’s really fun to race on.’

This group of West runners continues to leave its footprints all over the West record book, having already become the first Bucks team to go undefeated since 1962. Now, the group of Fortna, Ian Davies, Brian Iatarola, Declan McDonald and Teagan Fortna is headed to states.

“I haven’t raced there before — been there to watch —so I’m looking forward to being a part of it,’ Rock said.

Also making it out of District One Class AAA were Souderton Area’s Connor McMenamin (11th/15:59), Wissahickon’s Lukas Marcelis (20th/16:16), North Penn’s Shaun Collins (28th/16:24), and Pennridge’s Phil Gunderson (38th/16:29).

The Christopher Dock girls dominated Class A, taking four of the top six spots, including Maddison Landis’ second-place finish in 19:33.

“I’m so excited for everyone,’ Landis said. “We’ve been pushing each other all season.’

Dock was a perfect mix of experience and youth on this windy day at Lehigh.

“As a freshman, this is an amazing experience,’ said the Pioneers’ No. 2 runner, Lindsey Bernd. “I never thought I would get this far. Our team has been a really great encouragement for me this year and they’ve really pushed me to do my best.’

Camryn McClosky, Erica Gunden and Sharon Curtis rounded out the Pioneer top five, as Dock’s team score of 21 points topped the 47 posted by Delaware County Christian.

Gwynedd Mercy Academy earned the runner-up spot in Class AA, just missing qualifying as a team, as Lower Moreland edged the Monarchs 74-76.

But GMA’s Stephanie Szekely, just a sophomore, was able to qualify again for the big meet in Hershey, her time of 19:51 earning her a sixth-place finish.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply