Consuelos nearly medals at states
Besides parents, coaches and friends gathered together for yet another trip to Hershey, there was another presence occupying Northwestern’s tent. A group of alumni runners, which included Lindsay Kerr and Rachele Cerrone, among others, was also in attendance to cheer on their successors at Saturday’s PIAA Cross Country Championships.
There’s no question the current group of Tigers put together a performance even those graduates were impressed with, led by freshman Maddie Consuelos.
In Consuelos’ first trip to states, she led all Northwestern finishers by placing 27th in a time of 19:59. It was over 30 seconds faster on that same course than when she finished 17th in the PIAA Foundation Meet in late September.
“It was nice to see all of the alumni here,” Consuelos said. “That was very supportive throughout the day. Having them still care and want to know how well we are doing gives you a confidence boost.”
Consuelos came within seconds from reaching the goal she had set for herself prior to the race. She had hopes of finishing in the top 25 to earn a medal in the Class AA field of 213 racers. Instead, it was Pope John Paul II’s Julia Costello who finished as the 25th runner, seven seconds faster than Consuelos.
“I started out a little fast for my first mile, but I knew I had to get out if I wanted to get close,” Consuelos said. “I was cut off a few times, but I just had to get around those people. The second mile is just getting away from the groups and passing.”
Head coach Chris Stitzel knew that a sub-20 minute time would potentially put Northwestern’s top runners in medal contention.
“We told our top girls that if you want to medal you have to be under 20 [minutes],” Stitzel said. “And she was under 20. The competition is just getting better and better. That’s just more work that they have to put in.”
While the start was faster than most races she has experienced thus far, Consuelos was able to make up ground on the hills in the final two-mile stretch.
“The second and third mile are my strongest miles,” Consuelos said. “That’s where I did most of my work. That’s how I went from like 40th or 50th to 27th. Hills are my strong suit, so the hills just came naturally.”
As a team, the Northwestern girls placed seventh with 184 points. Molly Tarvin (63), Abigail Supplee (72) and Hannah Herzon (96) all finished in the top 100, while Rachel Mikols (114), Abigail Smith (149) and Angela Alden (179) rounded out the Tiger finishers.
For the Tigers, Saturday capped yet another season in which Northwestern was running as a team at Hershey in early November.
“The thing is, not every team comes here year in and year out like we do,” Stitzel said. “I appreciate that hard work that we can do that. We can all get together as one here and come out as a team and have a good time.”
And above everything, Stitzel wanted this group to enjoy their trip to Hershey, particularly the three seniors.
“All of the pressure is off,” Stitzel said. “I told them, ‘Go out and run today. There is no pressure at all. We’re not ranked first in the state, and we’re not supposed to win. Go out and have fun.’”
After impressing many at districts two weeks ago, Robert Leiser made the most of his trip to Hershey with a 152nd-place finish in 18:21. He crossed the one-mile mark in 134th place out of 223 runners, and the Northwestern sophomore dropped to 180th after two miles.
Pennsbury’s Olivia Sargent (AAA), Dallas’ Ally Rome (AA) and Vincentian Academy’s Abdalah Marianne (A) captured first on the girls’ side. On the boys’ side, Central Bucks East’s Jake Brophy (AAA), Lake-Lehman’s Dominic Hockenbury (AA) and Sewickley Academy’s Mackey Griffin (A) won their respective races.