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Mifflin/Juniata cross country PIAA results



HERSHEY – Juniata’s Garrett Baublitz and Mifflin County’s Brayden Harris and Chayce Macknair earned Top Ten finishes at the PIAA Cross Country Championships at the Parkview course on Saturday.


Baublitz improved upon ninth place a season ago to finish second in the boys 2A race. In Class 3A, Harris came in fourth with Macknair winning his second PIAA medal with an eighth-place finish. The Husky senior was 18th in 2017.


The Indian junior ran the course in 16:36, seven seconds off winner Jonah Powell of Grove City.


“I was hoping for somewhere between first and seventh, so finishing second in the state is great. I’m thrilled with that. I’m ecstatic,” Baublitz said. “It was a great feeling. I did the same thing in track but this is more special to me. Track has always been my baby and cross country is a little tougher for me but this is really special. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d get second today. I’m so happy. Words can’t describe how I feel right now.”


Baublitz was in fifth after the first mile with a time of 4:58, one second off the leader. He inched up to fourth at the two-mile mark in a time of 10:36. Baublitz turned on the juice in the last mile and with a strong kick passed two runners for second place.


“I was a little scared (on the last mile). They were putting on some surges and I didn’t know if I could handle it but I got my confidence up and did what I had to do,” Baublitz said. “There were a lot of surges. It was kind of chaotic. Lots of great action. It was an exciting race.”


Harris, just a sophomore, crossed in a time of 16:22. For Harris, this season was all about redemption.


“I thought I did pretty good. I wanted to redeem myself from last year. I was too peaked out last year and I didn’t even place in the top 25,” Harris said. “I thought with my times I could be top five. This course is so different. You have to take the start super-fast to get into position, you have to maintain position and then at the end try to kick. It felt really nice. I’m glad I came in top five and met my goal. This is a redemption year and I’m still growing. I didn’t expect to win it, but I wanted to keep my hopes up and finish top 25.”


Harris was ninth after the mile mark with a time of 4:55. He was up to fifth at the two-mile mark and had enough kick to pass a Christian Fitch of Fox Chapel for fourth. With two years left to tackle the Parkview course, Harris already knows where he has to improve.


“I need to maintain better. It gets a little hectic out there, especially with the slippy conditions today. Going out there on those hills you have to maintain position and not run them too hard,” Harris said. “I did a good job but at the start, I may have gone out a little too crazy. At the end, I always have a strong kick. They gave me a run for my money. Finishing top five motivates me for next year and into track season. I hope it motivates the other kids too.”


Macknair made his last race at states a memorable one, finishing with a time of 16:36, beating by a wide margin his time and 18th place finish from a year ago. The Husky senior was 15th at the mile mark, 13th at the two-mile and emptied the tank down the stretch to garner a top ten spot.


“I feel good about placing top ten. I had some discomfort before and during the race. I really wanted to beat him (Harris) today so I’m not super-duper happy but I’m happy enough,” Macknair said. “Top Ten, that’s pretty good. There’s a lot of elite company I’m with now being able to finish top ten in the triple-A race.”


Four area athletes made the trip to states and despite solid performances by all came up short in their quest for a top 25 finish and a medal.


Mifflin County’s Joy Galbraith, Lauren Kuykendall and Chase Sheaffer, along with Juniata’s Emily Houtz took on the Parkview course.


Galbraith and Kuykendall, both seniors, made their final high school cross country run a solid one with Galbraith finishing in a time of 21:06 and Kuykendall crossing in 22:20 in the 3A race. Husky junior Chase Sheaffer made his second appearance at states a memorable one by besting his time from a year ago. Sheaffer finished the course in a time of 17:45.


Juniata freshman Houtz was satisfied with her first run at Hershey, despite the hills and the muddy course. She finished the 2A race in a time of 22:37.





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