The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 9, 2014

H.S. cross country: Cedeno, Vella named top runners

Brandt and former pupil top coaches


n Coaches of the Year

In addition to leading his boys team to an undefeated season in 2013, Brandt led his girls squad to a 17-0 record which resulted in the Ironmen taking their fourth straight Heartland-II title.

Danville's girls then claimed the HAC Invitational before repeating as District 4 Class AA champions. Both titles came narrowly over division rival Lewisburg, 34-53, and 32-63, respectively.

Then in the state meet the Ironmen finished sixth for the second straight year.

"We were real pleased with the girls. The boys really surprised us by being undefeated, but the girls had a great season all around," said Brandt. "The district final was our best showing. It's always nice to win districts -- it's a meet you always point towards.

"It's your stepping stone to states. We ran one of our best races, if not our best race. at districts," added Brandt. "It was good to see the girls rise to the occasion."

For McConnell, a former Danville runner and star pupil of Brandt, his first Coach of the Year honor comes in his fifth season as mentor of the Red Tornadoes.

Mount Carmel posted a 16-1 season and claimed the Heartland-III title, with the lone loss coming to Danville by a single point.

But in the weeks that followed the loss, that defeat was overshadowed by a pair of big victories for the Red Tornadoes over their rival.

Mount Carmel first claimed the HAC meet with a 63-76 win over Danville before taking a too-close-for-comfort 72-81 win over the Ironmen at districts.

The season wrapped up with the Red Tornadoes finishing eighth in the state meet.

"The guys were pretty bummed out and they were pretty disappointed about that loss to Danville," said McConnell. "They hung their heads after that race and that loss was a big motivating factor (for the postseason).

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