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High School Cross Country: Immaculata with banner win for program in defeating Nardin

Immaculata’s Claire Attea, shown here last season, was also far ahead of the pack in winning the race against Nardin. (File photo by Michael J. Petro)

Immaculata’s cross country and outdoor track and field teams have accomplished quite a few firsts for their programs over the past few years. Chalk up last Tuesday’s (Sept. 11) result as another one for the Bears cross country program.

The two-time defending Monsignor Martin champions, which two years ago accomplished a first by winning that title, defeated Nardin in a regular season dual meet, a feat 16 years in the making. Immaculata finished in five of the top seven spots to help earn a 19-36 win.

“It was nice to see our girls in awe of what was happening,” said Bears’ head coach Charlie Planz, the architect of the programs’ surge. “Our parents were ecstatic as the girls were crossing the finish line. Their parents were like, ‘ut-oh.’”

Junior Claire Attea won the race in 20 minutes and 41 seconds, followed closely by senior teammate Amanda Kobiolka, who finished with a 20:44. Only one Nardin runner came in between Immaculata’s top four as sophomore Katie Simon took fourth and Alex Stachowski, fifth. Bears senior Allie Drozda took seventh overall.

In added good news for the team, Planz also has four freshman with the potential to eventually break into the top seven. They include Rachel Luczak, Anna Brady, Mary Kate Smith and Annie Fitzpatrick. The group helped Immaculata win the junior varsity portion of the JFK Invitational on Sept. 8.

“The girls have been running great and there’s even a group behind the main group that’s running unbelievably,” Planz said.

Planz has enjoyed seeing the program as a whole come together as a family with the support of the athletics department at the school. He said the 25 runners hold pasta dinners for their families every Friday. Just recently, they had 110 people for the dinner.

“It was a great showing,” Planz said. “It’s not just like a family atmosphere; it is a family atmosphere. Every runner is treated the same way and welcomed with open arms.”

Immaculata got back to MMAA competition running Tuesday (Sept. 18) against Holy Angels at the Bears’ home 5K course at the school in Hamburg.

Also locally, St. Francis’ top eight finishers were within 26 seconds of one another at the JFK Invite on Sept. 8 where the Red Raiders’ varsity finished eighth out of 15 teams and second in the junior varsity meet. Tanner Kendall came in second in the JV Race, recording the Red Raiders’ top time of the day with 15:04, which was followed by varsity’s top finisher, junior first-year runner Tim Bartnik, who had a time of 15:07 in the 2.5-mile race. Scott Kendall led all freshmen with a time of 16:45.


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