O’Hara boys, girls running with a purpose

MARPLE >> Can Cardinal O’Hara give head coach John McShay a going away present at the PIAA Cross Country championships Saturday?

That’s the plan.

The Lions would like nothing better than to give McShay a PIAA Class AAA girls title in his final meet as the head

All-Delco Grace Mancini and Cardinal O'Hara are eying a state title at Saturday's PIAA Cross Country championships. (Daily Times File Photo)
All-Delco Grace Mancini and Cardinal O’Hara are eying a state title at Saturday’s PIAA Cross Country championships.
(Daily Times File Photo)


“We always run with a purpose at states, but even more so this year,” senior Grace Mancini said. “It would mean a lot to him for us to do really well at states and we’re going to try really hard to do our best and make him proud.”

To make that dream come true the Lions will have to break the stranglehold Pennsbury and Unionville have had on the top two places over the last four years. Pennsbury has won four of the last five girls team titles, and finished second, to Unionville, in 2013. The Indians have been second in three of the last four PIAA championship meets.

“We’d have to run our best race,” McShay said.  

The Lions finished third last year and were sixth in 2013. Leading the way is Olivia Arizin, who placed 14th at the PIAA championships as a sophomore. This has been a breakout season for the junior All-Delco. She was first at the Briarwood Invitational, and won the Delco, Catholic League and District 12 championships.

“I’m excited,” Arizin said. “I’m excited. It’s going to be a great weekend.”

O’Hara isn’t the only Delco team headed to Hershey. Strath Haven finished fifth at the District One girls Class AAA championship to earn a ticket as a group to the state meet. The Bonner-Prendergast girls will be there as a group, too, in Class AA.

This is the third time in the last four years that the Panthers qualified as a team, and the second straight year the Pandas are going as a group.

Individually, Penn Wood has two runners in the championships. Track All-Delco Agnes Mansaray was the highest Delco finisher at the District One Class AAA championships. She was 11th, while teammate Terri Turner placed 26th to punch her ticket to Hershey.

Sacred Heart’s Emma Seifried won her second straight District One Class A title last week. She was second in the state meet a year ago.  

On the boys’ side, O’Hara will be in the hunt for the Class AAA team crown for the sixth straight year. The Lions have finished in the top three in each of the last five years. They were third in 2010, 2013 and 2014, and tied for first, but finished second on a tie-breaker both times in 2011 and 2012. Rob Morro and Ryan James will set the pace for the Lions. They were second and third, respectively, in the District 12 Class AAA championship last week.

District 12 Class AA champ Bonner-Prendergast will run as a group for the fourth straight year. Sean Sullivan won the Class AA individual crown to lead the Friars to the district title for the second year in a row.

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