By HARRY CHAYKUN
PHILADELPHIA — The PIAA's District 12 is made up of schools in the Philadelphia Catholic and Public leagues.
For the second consecutive year, the district's boys cross country Class AAA champion is a school located in Delaware County.
Cardinal O'Hara (25) had three of the top five finishers and five of the first nine in easily outpointing La Salle (62) for the top spot in the Class AAA race.
Bonner-Prendergast (58) had three runners among the top eight and took second place behind Archbishop Wood (25) in the Class AA team race. The Friars will join the Vikings among the squads in the state championship race in Hershey Saturday, Nov. 2.
O'Hara junior Kevin James coasted home first in the AAA race in 16 minutes, 28 seconds, with senior teammate Jim Belfatto 3½ seconds behind. Nick Smart took fifth place (16:46), and sophomore Rob Morro (eighth in 17:00) and freshman Ryan James (ninth in 17:01) rounded out the Lions' top five.
"We ran really hard here last Saturday,' Kevin James said of the Catholic League Championships, which O'Hara won. "Today I tried to run with the team.
"After the mile and into the woods I tried to take the lead and then slide through a half-mile or so before really going again. The goal was for us to be No. 1 today and stay fresh for states.'
Last year, O'Hara and West Chester Henderson tied for first place in the Class AAA state team scoring, but Henderson earned the gold medal because its sixth runner beat O'Hara's No. 6 to the finish line.
"We know them, and I've run against some of the other runners who will be at states,' James said. "We'll do what we have to do to be ready.'
Belfatto was O'Hara's No. 4 runner in last year's district title run.
"The coaches told us to do what we had to do to win today,' Belfatto said. "When we got out ahead there, I just decided to chill that third mile.
"We didn't do the Foundation race (in Hershey) this year, so next week will be our first time on that course this season. If we run like we did last week and in today's race, we'll give ourselves a chance to win it.'
Rounding out the O'Hara lineup were senior Christian Donnelly (12th place) and junior Drew Pastore (16th).
Junior Ryan Rastatter finished second, sophomore Sean Sullivan was fourth, and senior Joe Sullivan, Sean's older brother, took eighth place to help Bonner-Prendergast qualify as a team for the state meet.
Rastatter finished 1½ seconds behind Archbishop Wood sophomore Kyle Ortiz (17:16). Sean Sullivan came across the line 15½ seconds behind Rastatter, and Joe Sullivan's time was 30 seconds slower than that of his brother.
"Our goal was to come back here and try to win again,' Rastatter said of the Friars, who took the 2012 AA district team title. "We went out with the Wood guys to see what kind of pace they would set.
"You know when you get to the woods people will get tired, and you try to go past them then.'
Sean Sullivan said he has finished ahead of his brother in three of Bonner-Prendergast's five major meets.
"The last half-mile I wasn't sure if he was going to come up and make it past me,' the younger Sullivan said.
Rounding out the Friars' lineup were sophomores Mike Mercanti (21st) and Steve Cromity (23rd), and juniors Peter Drabinski (28th) and Andrew Ryan (37th).
Archbishop Carroll sophomore Matthew Fohner placed sixth, 17 seconds behind Sean Sullivan. Fohner will be joined at the state meet by teammates John Coppa, a senior who finished 15th, and junior Matthew Manzo (19th). Sophomores Jordan Machita (32nd) and Alex Acrich (33rd) rounded out the top five for the Patriots, who were third in the team standings.