DALLAS — Nicole Zambetti won her age group at last month’s Pittston Tomato Festival 5K. She continued that streak of strong running in her first high school cross country meet.
At the 42nd annual Cliff Robbins Invitational held Saturday, Sept. 3 on the campus of Misericordia University, Zambetti, a freshman, helped Pittston Area pick up a third-place finish out of 15 teams. She finished in ninth place out of 148 runners and finished second among freshmen.
The former soccer player posted a time of 21:15, just 15 seconds off a top-five finish.
“It felt pretty good to finally get out there,” she said. “From all the practices we have done, this helped a lot. This is different than soccer, but it’s good.”
Just 20 seconds behind Zambetti was senior Arianna Boccardi, who came in at 15th. Also contributing to the scoring for the Patriots was sophomore Bailey Loyack, who finished 28th. Genny English, Jessica Tighe, Mary Silinskie and Kierstan Grieco rounded out the scoring for the Patriots.
The Patriots finished with 100 total points, while Lake-Lehman was the winner with 82. Dallas finished with 94 points.
“I was really excited and didn’t expect to do that well,” Zambetti said. “I was kind of surprised. I never thought I would have placed that high.”
Having the opportunity to run with experienced seniors like Boccardi and Tighe has helped Zambetti start her varsity career with a bang.
“They are very encouraging,” she said. “They’ve been here before and they are really good role models to look up to.”
Also participating for Pittston Area were Hannah Getz, Julianna James, Ali Carroll, Ashton Ashby and Danielle Gollmer.
The Wyoming Area girls finished 11th out of the 15-team field. Addison Orzel led the way with a 37th place finish in 23:37. Gwen Glatz and Sarah Holweg, along with Bella Concha, rounded out the scoring for the Warriors.
On the boys side, the top local finisher was Pittston Area’s Joey Fisher, who came in 42th overall out of 219 runners. The senior ran the course in 19:05. Eleven seconds behind Fisher was fellow senior Tony DeMark, who would finish 46th.
As a team, the Patriots finished 11th out of 20 teams, while Wyoming Area finished 17th.
Patriot teams take sweeps
On Wednesday, all six of Pittston Area’s runners crossed the finish line in 26:56, while Coughlin’s Emma Fortune won the race at Coughlin. The Patriots beat Coughlin and GAR, 15-50.
Mary Silinskie, Jessica Tighe, Genny English, Bailey Loyack, Nicole Zambetti and Ali Carroll each crossed the finish line together.
The boys had to work a little harder, as they were able to beat Coughlin, 26-31, and GAR, 24-35.
Leading the way for Pittston Area was Tony DeMark, who crossed the finish line in 19:41, good for second place overall. Joey Fisher was next for the Patriots in 20:12 and third place. Also contributing to the scoring for Pittston Area was Nate Ridgely and Jon Martinez, who finished 9th and 10th, respectively.
Lady Warriors pick up win
Wyoming Area, led by Addison Orzel’s 23:58 and an eighth place finish, took care of Wyoming Seminary, 15-50, but were unable to keep pace with defending champions Dallas, 15-48, on Wednesday at Dallas. The Mountaineers took four of the top five spots for the wins.
This coming week, Wyoming Area’s boys and girls teams will head to Wyoming Seminary to take on the Blue Knights and Dallas. Pittston Area will travel to Wyoming Valley West to face the Spartans, Lake-Lehman and Tunkhannock.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick