Northeastern runner survives heat, finishes 3rd in state 3-A girls' cross-country meet

Northeastern High School's Margaret Carroll.

HERSHEY — The coronavirus pandemic has made for an unusual scholastic sports season.

Saturday at the PIAA Cross Country Championships, Mother Nature joined in the craziness.

A week after York County runners competed in fall temperatures in the 40s and 50s at the District 3 meet, most of the runners at the Parkview Cross Country Course had to deal with a heat wave, with temperatures reaching the mid-70s, leading to numerous runners falling in exhaustion as they crossed the finish line, or even on the course.

One of those barely finishing was Northeastern senior Margaret Carroll, who had the top performance for York County with a third-place finish in the Class 3-A girls' run.

“Better,” said Carroll, about an hour after her race, where she barely crossed the finish line before her legs buckled and she fell to the ground. “That’s never happened to me before, so that‘s surprising today. I guess I went out a little bit too hard.”

"That‘s a little slower than I expected,” said Carroll of her time of 19 minutes, 1 second, “but I made it across the finish line.”

“The heat is brutal,” said Northeastern coach Pete LoBianco. “They’re not used to it. … We’ve been running in the cooler temperatures for over a month.”

Carroll, who won both the York-Adams League and District 3 Class 3-A titles, finished behind Moon's Mia Cochran (18:28) and Wilson’s Caryn Rippey (18:46).

Carroll also helped Northeastern take fourth place in the team competition. The Bobcats had 80 points, with North Allegheny winning with 59.

While the heat was delivered by Mother Nature, COVID-19 also posed issues, and not just in scaling back everything, from the number of teams, to the number of individuals and fans at the meet. York Catholic was unable to field a full girls' team after positive tests at the school left only three of the six girls able to compete.

“They are all healthy,” said York Catholic coach Jeff Alloway of the girls who were quarantined. “They’re all negative. … It’s just the world we live in right now.”

The second best individual finish for York County runners was by Kennard-Dale’s Garrett Quinan, who was sixth in boys' Class 2-A with a time of 16:58.

“I feel like I ran pretty good and did what I had to do,” said Quinan, adding that he felt much better throughout Saturday’s race, as compared with last weekend’s District 3 race, when he had an energy drain in the first mile. “I started to push on the downhills, and really work on those, but other than that, I just wanted to keep consistent.”

Not too far behind was teammate Colin Wolf, who took 13th with a time of 17:19 and helped the Rams to a third-place team finish. K-D had 81 points, with Lewisburg winning with 57.

“This was their best day of the year,” said K-D coach Mike Twigg. “We saw ourselves as a top-three team. After being eighth last year, that’s an improvement, and that’s all you can ask for.”

Also in the top 10: One other York County runner finished in the top 10. York Suburban’s Cole Adams, who won the York-Adams League title, finished seventh in Class 3-A with a time of 16:33.

“I’m very pleased with what I did, especially with the hot conditions today,” said Adams, who finished fifth at the District 3 meet. “I changed the hydration a little bit … and I think it paid off.”

Medalists: There were four other York County runners finishing in the top 25 and receiving medals.

 In Class 1-A, Delone Catholic’s Julia O’Brien benefited from an early-morning, and much-cooler, start, and placed 20th (21:33), earning the first girls' state medal in school history and leading all District 3 Class 1-A runners.

“The second mile is where I really wanted to push it because that’s where a lot of the hills are. … I still had energy on the last mile and I ended up passing some of the people that I lost to in districts.”

K-D’s Dylan Cunningham helped in the team performance by finishing 20th in 17:32. Susquehannock’s Matt O’Brien took the last medalist spot, finishing in 17:36. The heat got to him enough that he was unable to be interviewed before becoming sick.

York Suburban’s Grant Kern finished just outside the top 10, placing 11th in Class 3-A in 16:45, and Northeastern’s Cole Perry was 15th in 16:47. In 3-A girls, Dallastown’s Lydia Tolerico finished 22nd in 20:03.

Just missing: Two York County runners finished just outside the top 25. York Catholic’s Moseley Driscoll was 26th in 17:57. That was actually the top 1-A finish for District 3 boys' runners and helped the Irish to a sixth-place team finish.

Suburban’s Brook Sargen was 26th in 3-A girls with a time of 20:13.

— Reach Philip Glatfelter at This story was updated to correct Carroll's finish.