O’Hara’s James settles for silver behind fast winner

HERSHEY — In any other year, Cardinal O’Hara’s Kevin James would be the PIAA Class AAA boys cross country champion. It took a record-setting performance by C.B. East’s Jake Brophy to keep James from winning the state title Saturday.

James finished second with the second-fastest time in the Class AAA race at the Parkview Course (15 minutes, 38 seconds) to lead O’Hara to third place in the team competition, its fifth consecutive top three finish at the state championship meet.

North Allegheny won the team title with 72 points. Conestoga was second (119) followed by the Lions (134).

The only runner to finish ahead of Kevin James was Brophy, who crossed the finish line in 15:24, 21 seconds better than the course record of 15:45 set by Henderson’s Tony Russell two years ago.

“The plan was to sit in second to whoever was leading,’ James said. “I knew we were going to go out quick, but it went out really quick. We went out in 4:38. I was going to sit in second until the gravel pit, which is a half-mile to go and then make a violent move to try to break everyone. It worked except for breaking Brophy. He came with me and had a lot more left than me.’

It was the third state medal and second straight top-five finish for James. He was 22nd as a sophomore and fourth as a junior.

“I felt pretty good until about 400 meters to go,’ James said. “Brophy started to pull away and I didn’t have anything left to go back at him. I ran like 20 seconds faster than I ran here about a month ago so I’m pretty happy with it. You can’t be disappointed. He was better than me today and you just have to move on.’

James, the reigning Daily Times boys cross country Runner of the Year, will be moving on to Syracuse. He said he made that decision a couple of weeks ago.

“I only made two official visits, Syracuse and Wake Forest,’ James said. “I just felt like Syracuse was right for me. The program is doing really well. It’s not that far away from home. I felt comfortable with the coach and they’re running really well right now so I’m happy with it. I’m excited to go there.’

Several Syracuse coaches were there to watch James take the silver medal. They also saw his younger brother, Ryan, and teammate Rob Morro place in the top 25 to earn state medals. Ryan James was 1th in 16:15 and Morro placed 22nd in 16:23.

“I’m very happy with that,’ Ryan James said. “I knew what I had to do and I just went out and gave it my best.’

As usual, Morro was feeling a bit poorly afterward, but not because where he finished.

“I always feel like crap after these races,’ Morrow said. “Last year, I was on the ground after the race. This year I felt a little bit better.’

Morro was not in medal contention until the latter part of the race. He passed several runners in the last half-mile or so to finish in the top 25.

“I just tried to pick off one shirt at a time,’ Morro said. “I was happy with the way I finished the race. I didn’t want to let anyone get by me.’

Drew Pastore finished 107th for the Lions, Jack Nolen was 127th, Billy Donovan place 134th and Michael Taraborrelli 192nd in the field of 229 runners. Elsewhere in Class AAA, Springfield’s Liam Galligan finished 49th and Liam Boyes of Haverford was 169th.

“The guys ran well, all seven of them,’ O’Hara coach Tom Kennedy said.

Senior Ryan Rastatter of Bonner-Prendergast was the top Delco finisher in Class AA. He finished 50th in 17:15. Teammate Season Sullivan was 70th in 17:32. Tyler Zwicharowski of Archbishop Carroll placed 71st in the Class AA race.

In Class A, Alexander Harvey of Delco Christian finished 59th in 15:54.


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