cross country runners

Runners in a cross country race. (Gazette file photo)

APOLLO — Indiana’s Kendall Branan won the individual title in the boys’ race and the girls captured the team title in the fourth annual Saucony Gingerbread Man Running Co. Kiski Cavalier Invitational cross country race Friday at Northmoreland Park.

Branan, a senior, led the field with a time of 16 minutes, 43 seconds.

“He ran a very strategic race against the top Allderdice runner, waiting until the hill to pass and continue to gain separation from his competitors from that point to the finish,” Indiana coach Lisa Kinter said.

Joel Beckwith followed Branan in third place at 16:58, breaking the 17-minute mark for the first time.

“He’s having an outstanding junior year,” Kinter said.

Tucker Davis led the rest of the Indiana contingent in 11th at 17:24. He was followed by Julian Yerger in 18th at 17:54, Issac Roadman in 34th at 18:31, Jack Finegan in 36th at 18:34, Jack Cicowski in 46th at 19:03 and John Berzonsky in 20:08

“The boys continued to display their depth and speed with outstanding performances,” Kinter said. “We are lucky that when the team members are sick we have the strength for others to pick up the pace for the team.”

The Indiana girls won the title “through sheer determination,” Kinter said.

Harley Kessler led the way, taking 19th overall. She was followed by Emerson Davis in 31st, Sarah Love in 42nd, Brooke Boyer in 47th, Madison Caroff in 60th, Hunter Fanella in 67th, Belinda Linxu in 68th and Layla Smith in 69th.

In the junior varsity boys’ race, a wrong turn cost Owen Putt the lead and he settled for fifth at 19:10. He was followed by Maddux Fisanich in sixth at 19:16, Will Berzonsky in 11th at 19:34, Hunter Smathers in 16th at 19:48, Clayton Weaver in 17th at 19:53,, Ben Brown in 30th at 20.25 and Seth Weaver in 41st at 20.34. Indiana finished second behind Uniontown.

Maria Kowchuck led Indiana in the junior varsity girls’ race, placing eighth at 26:50. She was followed by Emma Grimm and Olivia Peters.

Indiana competes next Saturday in the PIAA Foundation XC Invitational, which is run on the same course as the state championship meet in November.

In the junior high meet, the Indiana girls placed second, just four points behind Franklin Regional. Jadyn Ball led Indiana with a fifth-place finish in 12:47, and McKenna Jordan earned a 10th-place medal in 13:13.

Rounding out the effort were Rachel Gill in 16th in 13:36, Eve Kuzneski in 25th in 13:52, Kara Broskin in 39th in 14:27, Ashlynn Branan in 49th in 14:53 and Suzy Lenze in 59th in 15:18.

The boys placed third, two points behind second-place Riverview and 15 behind Kiski Area.

Preston Kessler led Indiana with a second-place finish in 11:27. He was followed by Tommy Kauffman in 12th in 12:12, Charlie Weber in 13th in 12:14, Carter Putt in 19th in 12:36, Nico Fanella in 28th in 12:58, AJ Lockard in 29th in 12:59 and Andrew Grim in 32nd in 13:12.