The only reason Jolena Quarzo isn’t a four-time county champion is because she finished second to her sister Gionna as a freshman.
With the elder Quarzo winning four consecutive titles, the FCCA Cross Country Championship girls gold medal has resided in the house for seven consecutive autumns after Jolena Quarzo cruised around the Penn State Fayette course in 18:40.
Uniontown’s Hope Trimmer, as she generally does, bolted to the lead early. The senior finished second for the second year in a row with a time of 20:31.
“(Hope) does that at a lot of meets. I like when a bunch of girls get out,” Quarzo said of the early pace. “I feel I start a little quick, then I get a pace I feel comfortable.”
Quarzo said she gained separation before the first mile.
“We were coming up the hill towards the first mile,” said Quarzo.
As for winning her third county title, Quarzo added, “It feels good to do that in my senior year.”
Trimmer said she was a bit fatigued after taking a college visit over the weekend.
“It was not a good day for me. I’m okay with it,” said Trimmer. “I was on an official visit over the weekend at Pitt, so I didn’t get so much rest.
“She caught me on the blind turns coming up the hill.”
As for her start and finish, Trimmer said, “I don’t think I went out harder than usual. (Her time) is not okay with me. I like to see myself in the sub-20s.
“It was just one of those days.”
Trimmer turned attention to the Tri-State Coaches Invitational and WPIAL Championship over the next two Thursdays at California University of Pa.
“Hopefully, that peak is coming. We’re doing the Tri-State invite. That eases my nerves for the WPIAL meet,” said Trimmer.
Belle Vernon took the next two places with junior Tessa Rodriguez third in 20:56 and Roz Perozzi fourth with a time of 21:11.
“It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I knew when I came it was a tough course,” said Rodriguez. “I knew I just had to overcome College Hill. I needed to shoot up that as fast as I could and settle in.
“My goal was to keep Hope in sight. I know Jojo and Hope are phenomenal runners.”
Rodriguez feels her performance will have momentum heading into the district championship.
“It gives me a lot of confidence going into Cal U. It’s a pre-WPIAL look,” added Rodriguez.
The Lady Raiders’ Grace Trimmer was fifth in 21:11 and Geibel Catholic freshman Emma Larkin crossed the finish line eight seconds later for sixth place. Larkin said she crushed her previous time in the A.J. Everhart Invitational on Uniontown’s home course by nearly two minutes.
Larkin was not positioned in the top 10 through the first mile. She steadily worked her way through the field.
“I started catching people around the start of the second mile. The first mile I stay at a certain pace. Then, in the last two miles, I go as I feel,” said Larkin.
The freshman had a simple approach to the race.
“I try to tell myself to do my best. You can only run your best,” explained Larkin, adding, “I wanted to beat my time the last time I ran here and then beat 22 minutes.”
As for placing sixth, Geibel’s lone runner said, “It’s nice, especially being the lone wolf.”
Uniontown easily won the team title with 31 points with the Lady Raiders grabbing the final four All-County berths, plus 11th place.
Emily Angelo (21:42), Addy Martin (21:49), Zaya McCune (22;00), and Lydia Stanton (22:02) earned All-County honors. Arrington Scott placed 11th in 22:22.
Isabella Baker finished 12th in 22:24 for Laurel Highlands’ top finish. Albert Gallatin’s Mia Medved crossed the finish line at 24:17 for 13th place.
Calvary Chapel Christian’s Ada Bommer was 15th in 25:04 and Connellsville’s Hailey Murray placed 16th in 25:10.