"Shaler Area sophomore Brianna Schwartz capped a stellar season with an outstanding performance, finishing third in the Class AAA race at Saturday's PIAA cross country championships at the Parkview Course in Hershey.
Schwartz began the race by getting to the front of the pack in a group of eight. The beginning of the Hershey course is downhill, and a lot of runners go out fast. But after the first mile and a half, that group of eight had shrunk to five.
Schwartz ran with Unionville's Courtney Smith, Pennridge's Marisa Sheva, Cumberland Valley's Mady Clahane, and one familiar face, local rival Mary Malone, a junior from North Hills High School.
The five-some entered the Aloha Hills -- a stretch of the race filled with U-turns over uneven ground. Unionville's Smith took a commanding lead in front of the entire field following that stretch. She went on to win the championship, turning in a clocking of 18:16, 20 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.
Schwartz and Sheva made a breakaway of their own as well."
(Photo: Shaler Area sophomore Brianna Schwartz finished third in the PIAA championships. Tony Tye/Post-Gazette.)