BETHLEHEM — Chris and Matt Kazanjian knew they had qualified for the PIAA Class AAA Cross Country Championships in Hershey Nov. 2.
Chris finished third, two places ahead of his twin brother, at the PIAA District One Championships on Lehigh University's Goodman Campus Friday afternoon. Then the wait began, a wait much longer and almost as painful as the race, as the Kazanjians and their teammates joined many other runners and teams in hoping that when the official results were posted, there would be good news.
The Lions were rewarded for their patience when the result sheet showed that West Chester Henderson (60) had earned the team championship, followed by Conestoga (173), Council Rock North (200), Pennsbury (297) and Penncrest (300), which grabbed the last team-qualifying place by 12 points ahead of Bensalem.
"I think they said the last time Penncrest had a team make states was 1987,' Matt Kazanjian said with a look of complete satisfaction. "This is great.'
Henderson senior Tony Russell ran away with the individual title in 14 minutes, 59 seconds. He was followed across the line by Ross Wilson of Council Rock North (15:15) and Chris Kazanjian (15:22). After Jake Brophy of Central Bucks East claimed fourth place in 15:24, Matt Kazanjian took fifth in 15:28.
"The start was slow, but I made it up in the second mile,' Chris Kazanjian said. "I just didn't think about where I was. I wanted to try to keep working and going for it.
"Getting the whole team to states is really something special.'
Chris Kazanjian had dropped about a dozen places behind his brother midway through the race.
"If I don't get a good start, I know I have to work the last two miles,' he said. "It just works better that way sometimes.
"Now we know that all of us are going (to Hershey), and we've still got some work to do for the next week.'
Adam Sisson (86th; 16:45), Joseph Angelina (99th; 16:47), and Taylor Orcutt (107th; 16:50) rounded out the Penncrest top five. Brendan Hanna (221st; 17:22) and Owen Pantane (241st; 17:33) also will represent Penncrest in the state championship race.
The Lions will be joined in Hershey by Haverford High's David Fowler, who took 16th place in 15:47, and Radnor junior Connor Holm (36th; 16:04). Holm's senior teammate Watson Hanson placed 53rd, and was 11 seconds off the state qualifying time.
"I wanted to go out hard and settle in,' Holm said. "I hoped the mile time would be between 4:50 and 4:55. "When I started to pick people off, I knew that at the 2½-mile mark I would have to give it everything I had if I wanted to go to states.'
In the Class AA race, Glen Mills sophomore Keegan McChesney finished 21st, followed by teammates Ernest Richardson (32nd), Mikeal White (37th) and Martin Anderson (45th).
Senior Andrew Garrett of Delaware County Christian School was 19th in the Class A final, and the Knights' Matt Rhine placed 46th.