Youngsters ruled the day Saturday at the 46th annual Cliff Robbins Sr. Invitational, a season-opening cross country meet conducted at Misericordia University’s Letterkenny Fields.
Sophomores Brian McCormack from Scranton and Daniel Danilovitz finished 1-2 in the varsity boys race while Forest City freshman Katy Korty won the girls race by eight seconds.
The veteran presence came in the form of Crestwood senior Molly DeMarzo, the 2018 and 2019 District 2 Class 3A champion, who was second in the girls race.
But even part of DeMarzo’s story was the help that came from her young teammates. The Lady Comets finished 2-3-4 with sophomore Molly Kozich and freshman Ella Novelli following DeMarzo to the finish.
The meet returned after a year off and went on as the season-opening event for the bulk of the Wyoming Valley Conference, about one-third of the Lackawanna League and a handful of teams from outside District 2 despite some late-week, weather-related adjustments.
When the day was over, a total of 200 varsity boys and 124 varsity girls had completed the race plus another 110 junior high girls and 107 junior high boys for a total of 541.
Following Wednesday’s storms, parts of the course remained too wet for safe use so the varsity races were reduced from 5 to 4 kilometers and the junior high races from 3 to 2.56 kilometers. The races went off a little shorter than the cross country norm with the varsity runner about 2½ miles and the junior high about 1½.
McCormack finished in 13:26, three seconds in front of Danilovitz.
Juniors and seniors occupied the next five spots.
Hunter Foust from Hughesville in District 4 finished third.
Lake-Lehman’s Nick Hockenbury was fourth, followed by Lakeland’s Scott Bevilacqua, Dunmore’s Joseph Cardillo and Mid Valley’s Gabe Pacyna.
Montrose sophomore Nathaniel Sinkovich was the other District 2 runner in the top 10, placing ninth.
Dunmore was the first District 2 team to get two runners to the finish line with freshman Tommy Clark taking 12th.
Crestwood had Nash Greene, Weston Medvetz and Jack Scanlan take 11th, 13th and 15th.
Mid Valley got its second runner, Michael Novak, across in 14th.
Berwick’s Mattock Shultz, who was 16th overall, was the third freshman to finish.
There were five freshmen among the top nine girls finishers, led by Korty’s 15:33 finish.
Riverside’s Lacey Danilovitz was fifth, followed by Dallas freshman Madison Hedglin in sixth, Mountain View’s Carissa Flynn, then back-to-back freshmen, Northeast Bradford’s Gracelyn Laudermilch and Mid Valley’s Annika Von Ahnen, in eighth and ninth.
Scranton and Montrose joined Crestwood with some of the top team efforts.
Bella Noreika, Emily Hopkins and Amelia King were 10th, 16th and 22nd for Scranton.
Montrose had Paige Brewer 12th, Daegan Giannone 21st and Stephanie Summerville 23rd.
Crestwood added Ellie Kozich, in 13th, and Emily Leicht, in 27th, to the three runners in the top four.
Mountain View placed 3 in the top 20 with Kathryn Long and Genevieve Larkin joining Flynn.
Dallas had 4 – Hedglin, Olivia Thomas, Julianna Sobocinski and Sarah Williams – in the top 30.
Eighth-graders Mason Staude from Crestwood and Avery Kerr from Montrose won the junior high titles.