For the second time during the cross country invitational season, Peters Township's Brett Kroboth finished as a runner-up. This time, though, he narrowed the margin of victory.
In a photo finish, Jack Bertram of North Allegheny broke the tape just ahead of Kroboth to capture the Red, White and Blue Classic held Sept. 11 at White Oak Park. Both runners clocked at time of 15:53.
A week prior, Kroboth finished in second place to Notre Dame recruit and Butler senior C.J. Singleton in the Marty Uher Invitational at California University of Pennsylvania.
While Singleton is the defending WPIAL champion, Bertam is an up-and-coming freshman. He ranked among the top eighth graders in the nation last year.
“Brett gave it his all,” said PT coach Tim Wu. “It was a close race.”
A junior, Kroboth has aspirations of winning a WPIAL title and shattering the school record held by Nick Wolk, who went on to enjoy a successful career at the University of Pittsburgh.
“Brett works hard and he really wants to win WPIALs,” Wu said. “He strives to win and he wants his team to do well. He’s been a good team leader for us.”
Kroboth was sandwiched in between two NA runners, as Scott Nalepa took third overall with a 16:09 time. The Tigers placed five runners among the top 21 to take first place in the Class AAA boys standings.
Jake Borgesi from South Fayette finished fourth with a 16:12 time. His teammate, Roman Galioto, took 12th place.
Three other area runners rounded out the top 20. Mt. Lebanon’s Swapnil Rana, Upper St. Clair’s Robert Shontz and Chartiers Valley’s Kaden Crump finished in 14th, 18th and 20th places, respectively.
Lebo finished in 6th place, while USC took 7th and South Fayette followed in 10th in the team standings.
NA and Moon’s Mia Cochran also dominated the Class AAA division. While the Tigers took the team title with a score of 52, Cochran defended her title with a winning mark of 17:29. Cochran is also the defending WPIAL and PIAA champion.
Lebo’s Logan St. John Kletter took third place overall while Bethel Park’s Jenna Lang followed in eighth.
Sydney Shock from Peters finished in 17th place and USC’s Jaclyn Martinelli took 19th.
Lauren Iagnemma was South Fayette’s top performer. The senior finished 21st.
USC finished fourth in the girls team standings. In addition to Martinelli, Lydia Rhodes, Meredith Rhodes, Jillian Fishell, Mia Skeel, Molly Maher, Miriam Gutensohn and Hannah James contributed to the Panthers' showing.
The early invitationals served as a tune-up as area teams entered section action this week.
The next big invitational on the schedule is the Foundation Meet Sept. 25 in Hershey. The race gives the competitors an opportunity to run on the Parkview 5K course where the PIAA championships will be held Nov. 6.