The hill repeats and miles of summer paid off in smiles in late autumn for Canon-McMillan cross country runners.

Josiah Wudkwych capped the season with a strong showing during the PIAA championships held Nov. 2 in Hershey. The senior finished 64th overall with a 16:55 time.

Wudkwych led the Big Macs to success at the district level, too. During the WPIAL championships held at California University of Pennsylvania, he helped the boys place ninth as a team in the Class AAA division. He was a Top 21 finisher in a time of 17:20. His brother, Doron, and teammate Max Thomas picked up 34th and 66th places while Matthew Thomas, Logan Ford, Drew McGee and Thomas Zukowski contributed to the team’s showing.

Earlier, the Big Macs experienced success in the Mingo Classic Invitational and Washington County Championships, winning the team titles.

At Mingo, Josh and Doron as well as Ford rounded out the top 10 in fourth, ninth and 10th position. Max Thomas finished 17th. McGee, Matthew Thomas and Anthony Abbott completed the team scoring.

Seven runners grabbed all-county medals. Josh was the runner-up while Doron eked out eight place. Ford (5th), Max Thomas (9th), Zukowski (12th), McGee (13) and Matt Thomas (17th) rounded out the Top 20.

Abbott won the JV race with Seth Wudkwych (3rd), Joseph Zukowski (5th), Jordan Gasper (6th), Caleb Chaplik (7th), Connor Kelly (9th) and Zach Zappa (10th) all claimed awards.

The Lady Macs, nearly duplicated their male counterparts’ efforts as Stephanie Keelson ran a strong race in the district finals, placing 28th and narrowly missed earning a trip to Hershey for the state championships.

Keelson won the Washington County Championships in 19:58 and finished fifth at the Mingo Classic.

In the JV races at Mingo Park, Emily Skoczlas secured runner-up honors and Samantha Hirsch placed eighth.

The Lady Macs earned runner-up laurels as a squad at the Washington County Championships. In addition to Keelon’s success, Audrey Karwoski (4th) and Anna Sheppard (9th) and Kayla Sauer (16th) finished in the Top 20 and garnered all-country honors.

Freshmen Hope Carmona and Erin DeLong along with junior Abby Glivic completed the varsity scoring while Bennett Pidro captured the top prize in the JV race. Emily Skoczlas (3rd), Elena Fetty (8th) and Emily Gall (10th) also gained JV awards.

“Both the boys and the girl’s teams finished their seasons with strong performances,” said coach Mark Galley. “All those long hours of training and all their hard work in the summer made a difference. By the at the end of the year, we hit our stride.”

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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