HERSHEY – South Fayette cross country coach Joe Winans made a bold prediction after the Lions’ girls team won its third consecutive WPIAL team championship last month.

Winans was asked about the Lions’ chances of a state team title and he quickly answered, “We’re going to win.”

The South Fayette runners lived up to their coach’s expectations when the Lions won the Class AA girls team title at the PIAA Championships held Saturday morning in Hershey.

South Fayette had four runners finish among the top 14 in the team competition as the Lions finished with 62 points to easily outdistance runner-up Northern, from District 3, which had 77 points. Warrior Run was third with 116 points.

Sophomore Lauren Iagnemma was the top finisher for South Fayette, crossing the line in third place among the team competitors and 13th overall in 19:22. Freshman Angelina Gabriel was ninth in the team event, finishing in 20:04, 18 seconds ahead of teammate Hailey Poe, who was 13th. Steffanie Kozak was 14th, Emma Fleck 22nd and Gabby Baiano 29th and Morgan Lukenich 42nd.

Belle Vernon’s Grace Henderson missed the medal stand by 10 places and 13 seconds, finishing 35th in 20:18.2. Leopards freshman Viva Kreis was 142nd. Ringgold freshman Charlee Leach finished in 86th place.

In Class A girls, Fort Cherry’s Mara Whalen was 86th and Kayla Salvini was 104th, three spots ahead of California’s Makayla Boda.

In the boys competition, Peters Township’s Zack Marmol capped a strong season by finishing in eighth place in Class AAA, crossing in 16:11.2. Mt. Lebanon’s Patrick Anderson was the winner in 15:25.6.

Canon-McMillan’s Josiah Wudkwych finished in 64th place.

The South Fayette boys finished in eighth place in the Class AA team standings with 255 points. Lewisburg and York Suburban tied for the team title with 84 points each.

South Fayette’s top runner was Zach Conner, who was 15th in the team portion of the race and followed c loosely teammate Aaron Skerbetz, who placed 17th. Conner was 33rd overall and Skerbetz 37th.

Ringgold’s Lucas Pajak was top local finisher in Class AA boys as he finished 16th in 16:44.5. Teammates Ethan Gamble (49) and Ben Daerr (67) also ran in the state final.

Chartiers-Houston’s Alex Siege was 46th in the boys Class A race with a time of 17:40. Fort Cherry’s Lee Henke placed 145th.

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