CONNELLSVILLE — The Connellsville, Albert Gallatin and Uniontown boys all won twice Tuesday to open the Section 2-AAA schedule at Connellsville.
The Falcons defeated McKeesport, 20-43, and West Mifflin, 15-50. The Red Raiders returned home with wins over the Tigers (19-44) and Titans (15-50). The Colonials picked up victories over McKeesport (26-32) and West Mifflin (28-29).
Although they’ll run together all three weeks of the Section 2-AAA schedule, the three Fayette County teams will not officially face one another, along with Ringgold and Laurel Highlands, until the final meet in two weeks at Connellsville.
West Mifflin and McKeesport will run against one another next week.
Uniontown’s Logan Maust broke free from McKeesport’s Aaron Elm in the second half of the race to finish first in 17:52.
Maust was familiar with the Connellsville tract that starts behind the middle school, heads up to the elementary school and then continues through the adjoining woods, saying, “It’s just the junior high course twice.”
“I wanted to go on the field (after exiting the woods),” said Maust. “I paced off the McKeesport kid (Elm).”
Maust said he tested Elm on the hill heading to the elementary school.
“Up in the woods, on the hill, I threw in a surge. He stayed with me, though,” said Maust. “I thought ‘He’s being serious.’”
Maust is the defending county champion as he enters his senior year.
“This is my last year, so I have to be confident, positive,” explained Maust. “I’m ready for it. I just want to do it. I want competition. I want a good run.”
Elm was second in 18:21, with the Red Raiders’ Nathan Lucy third with a time of 18:32. Connellsville had the next two finishers with Dom Prestipino crossing the line in 18:33, just ahead of teammate Zach Bigam in 18:35.
Prestipino said while he wanted to finish as high as he could, adding he needed to be aware of the meet against McKeesport and West Mifflin.
“It’s definitely a mindset. You don’t want to risk dying off in the race and losing to teams that matter,” said Prestipino.
The sun was bright and the temperature hovered around 90 degrees, so runners had to adjust accordingly.
“It’s just getting hydrated. It’s tough as a whole team,” said Prestipino.
When pressed to look ahead to the section finale, not discounting next week’s meet at Albert Gallatin with the same two local teams, along with Elizabeth Forward and Thomas Jefferson, Prestipino said, “We need to figure out where we need to improve. It’ll be an exciting one.”
Prestipino was familiar with the course as he helped prepare it for an Eagle Scout project.
“I cleaned up the course. All the hard work is done. In the future years, I’ll touch it up,” added Prestipino.
Uniontown’s Leyton Maust (6, 19:10), Sam Jubin (7, 19:11), and Brandon Hebda (10, 19:36), and Connellsville’s Bruce Foster (8, 19:23) and Brandon Routzahn (9, 19:25) rounded out the top 10 finishers.