Greensburg Salem runners sweep top 3 spots at WCCA meet |
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Paul Schofield
Greensburg Salem's Mark Brown leads teammate Cameron Binda during the boys varsity race during the WCCA cross country championships on Thursday Oct. 12, 2017 at Westmoreland County Community College.

Greensburg Salem runner Cameron Binda was trailing teammate Mark Brown coming through the woods at Westmoreland College on Thursday.

That’s when he decided to pick up the pace.

Binda shot past Brown after the midway point, forged a commanding lead and surprised himself by winning the annual Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association cross country meet with a winning time of 16 minutes, 54 seconds.

The Golden Lions finished 1-2-3 as Brown placed second (17:16.1) and Dylan Binda, Cameron’s brother, was third (17:17).

Brown said the typically 3.1-mile race was actually 3 14 miles.

“I felt the need to pick things up and went with it,” Cameron Binda said. “I’m pretty satisfied with my time and satisfied with the race.”

Binda said winning shows him that his hard work paid off.

“I just have to continue doing what I’m doing,” he said, looking ahead to the WPIAL championship meet Oct. 26 at Cooper’s Lake in Slippery Rock.

Surprisingly, Norwin won the boys team title with 47 points. Greensburg Salem was second with 49.

The Knights ran in a pack and had six runners place between seventh and 18th place, including four in a row, beginning with seventh-place finisher Alex Jubert. Following were Jacob Tarosky (eighth), Carson Shipley (ninth), Eli Olsen (10th) and Nicholas Shavel (13th).

That was enough to edge the Golden Lions, though the leading trio was pleased with the team’s effort.

“We’re a much smaller school than they are,” Brown said. “They have more depth than we do. Our top three are phenomenal; next year we will be a force because everyone is back.”

Fourth place went to Franklin Regional’s Matt Busche, fifth to Hempfield’s Calvin Dziewulski and sixth to Kiski Area’s Nick Gabrielli.

The girls’ race wasn’t close after the first mile. That’s when Latrobe’s Maria Cawoski, the defending WCCA champion, broke away from the pack and breezed to her second title in 20:20.8

Cawoski, who has battled various ailments this season, said getting healthy has been a major hurdle this season. She said she felt great Thursday.

“I’m getting all my strength back, working each day and getting stronger and stronger,” Cawoski said. “Winning this race shows that you can overcome an injury; it felt good.”

Greensburg Salem’s Emma Andrasko (20:35.2) used a strong kick to finish second, and Hempfield’s Laura Aston (20:36.7) held off a late charge to edge Latrobe’s Rachel Harter (20:36.8) for third.

Cawoski and Harter helped Latrobe edge Greensburg Salem for the team title, 58-69.

“I kept my pace steady early so I wouldn’t die out before the end,” Cawoski said. “I like leading the race and setting the pace. I feel more comfortable in the lead.”

Fifth place went to Franklin Regional’s Clare McCarthy. Southmoreland’s Kaylee Farino was sixth, followed by Norwin’s Courtney Kosanovic (seventh), Kiski Area’s Kierra Schreffler (eighth), Derry’s Mary Trinclisti (ninth) and Greensburg Salem’s Jamie Tanto (10th).

Andrasko said it was a really good race for her.

“I was in a zone,” Andrasko said. “I’m pretty happy how things turned out. I tried not to give up because I knew those girls would go out fast, so I tried to keep them in range and do the best I could.

“This finish really helps with my confidence. I was 14th last year, so this was really good.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.

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