Gionna Quarzo had an eventful fall with the Brownsville senior winning her first WPIAL gold medal, placing third in the state final and verbally committing to continue her running and academic careers at North Carolina State.
Quarzo was dominating in every race, winning every section meet and invitational she ran, including her fourth county meet title. The senior was also named to the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association first-team.
Quarzo’s accomplishments enabled her to take top honors again as the 2019 Herald-Standard Runner of the Year.
Elizabeth Forward’s Ted Grice and Uniontown’s Joe Everhart shared the Big School Coach of the Year honors after leading their respective squads to a share of the Section 2-AAA title with McKeesport. Brownsville’s Brian Nicholson earns the Small School Coach of the Year honors after his Lady Falcons won another Section 3-AA crown.
Quarzo headlines a local contingent of very accomplished female runners, with most of the squad returning next year.
The county will still have a Quarzo toeing the start line next year with JoJo Quarzo poised to fill the void left by the graduation of her older sister. The younger Quarzo was runner-up to her sister in the A.J. Everhart Invitational, the FCCA Cross Country Championship and WPIAL Championship, and finished eighth in her first PIAA Class AA Championship.
Belle Vernon placed two runners on the Herald-Standard All-Area first team, junior Grace Henderson and freshman Viva Kreis.
Henderson finished third in the county meet and seventh in the WPIAL Class AA final. She won the Big South Conference and River Trail Invitational meets, and placed 35th in the state final.
Kreis made the most of her first season by making the WPIAL awards podium after she placed 12th with a time of 21:08. She finished fifth in both the TSTCA Cross Country Invitational and the FCCA meet.
Kreis was joined on the all-area first team by fellow freshmen Charlee Leach, Marissa Manko and Hope Trimmer.
Leach had an impact-filled first season after a slow start due to illness. She qualified for the PIAA Class AA final after finishing 22nd in the WPIAL meet.
She helped the Lady Rams win the Washington County Coaches Association Championship title and earned all-county honors after finishing fifth.
Manko missed advancing to the state meet by a photo finish. She crossed the finish line in 22:19, but fell shy by less than a foot for 28th place. Manko helped the Lady Warriors win the Mingo Classic and Big South Conference titles, and share the Section 2-AAA crown with Uniontown and McKeesport.
Trimmer was fourth in her first county meet, seventh in the Everhart Invitational and went undefeated in Section 2-AAA meets. A lingering illness at the end of the season curtailed Trimmer’s effort in the WPIAL final.
California’s Makayla Boda rounds out the first team. The junior finished 21st in the WPIAL Class A final to earn a trip to the state meet and earned all-county honors in the Washington County meet.
The second-team honorees are a strong set of runners, as well, ready to step into the starting lineup.
The second-team includes seniors Anjolina Hrycko (Ringgold) and Hannah Hebda (Elizabeth Forward), and juniors Lillian Herbert (Connellsville), Ashton Reposky (Brownsville), Kaitlyn Pester (Waynesburg Central), Uniontown’s Karsyn Lucy (Uniontown), Andrea Kassa (Ringgold), and Bailey McLaughlin (Elizabeth Forward).
Honorable mention recognition goes to Connellsville senior Chloe Kalp, Brownsville senior Hannah DeWitt and Uniontown sophomore Ryleigh Kelley.