Bamford holds off Steinbecker; Owen J. Roberts girls break through (with full results)



WORCESTER – Spring-Ford’s Gabriella Bamford won the gold medal at Thursday’s 32nd Annual Pioneer Athletic Conference Girls’ Cross Country Championships but not without a challenge.

Bamford, a Rams senior, crossed first in the race at Heebner Park with a time of 19:03 followed closely by Perkiomen Valley’s Teaghan Steinbecker at 19:06.

“Teaghan and I have had good races against each other all year,” said Bamford. “I usually like to take the race out from the start but I didn’t want to today because all the other really good runners in the PAC have amazing kicks and finishes.

“But, I ended up taking it out because I was comfortable with the pace. I even was pushing in the first mile. Then, the second mile was good.

“The course was a little hilly but I used the downhills to my advantage. I had a 25-meter lead going into the third mile and I knew I had to keep it up – to keep going hard.

“I started to pick it up with 800 to go. I knew I had to make my move to keep my lead.”

Scheinbecker had already started to make her move and narrow the gap.

“I was running out of gas,” said Bamford, who last year was a top-30 finisher at the District One Class AAA Championships as well as a state-meet qualifier.

“Then, I heard my dad say – you got company. I was really hurting in the last 200. I was concerned that my legs would give out. Today’s results give me confidence for districts.

“I couldn’t believe it when I won the race today. The PAC meet is always so good and Teaghan ran a really good race. It’s been great running with her the last four years.”

Scheinbecker said, “The difference this year is that we’ve been working really hard as a team. I had my best summer training ever. We did about 350 miles this summer and I came into the season stronger than ever.

“Last year, I was third here and sixth as a sophomore. I wanted the gold medal today. Gabby is really great to compete against but today, I was determined to win.

“I ran with the top pack for a while. It was going back-and-forth and then started to separate at the two-mile. Gabby led the whole race. In the last 200, I knew I had to start going really hard. I almost got her.”

Having that runner-up feeling is also something the Owen J. Roberts team is familiar with. The Wildcats have experienced the feeling at the last two PAC Championships.

On Thursday, OJR’s girls ended their bridesmaid streak and took the team title with 30 points. Perkiomen Valley was runner-up at 47 followed by Spring-Ford (60), Methacton (108) and Phoenixville (164).

Owen J. Roberts’ top finishers were Autumn Sands (third), Mary Bernotas (fourth), Hannah Kopec (fifth), Alex Glasier (seventh), Mikayla Niness (11th), Mackenzie Kurtz (12th) and Emma Torak (21st).

“Autumn and Mary were going back-and-forth,” said OJR’s veteran coach Dave Michael, who is now in his 42nd season at the Wildcats’ helm.

“Finishing third, fourth and fifth put us in pretty good shape. And, Alex had a good finish at seventh. These girls have worked really hard. They’ve trained well all season and they’re running very well now.”


Pioneer Athletic Conference Girls Cross Country Championships

At Heebner Park, Worcester (Thursday, Oc.t 19)