By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
BLOOMSBURG -- The Northeast PA Invitational traditionally serves as the annual tune-up race for the District 4 Championship meet run in late October on the same Mount Olympus course at Bloomsburg University.
For the Valley's top finishers in Saturday's invite -- Shikellamy freshman Treicy Cedeno and Southern Columbia junior Andrew Steely -- the duo found the going tough and learned they have a lot of work to do in the next four weeks.
Cedeno, who is only the fourth female runner to break 20 minutes in the history of Shikellamy's program, narrowly missed doing so again as she finished fifth in 20:02.
Her goal was to run a 19:40, but Cedeno was still satisfied with how she ran.
"It was a tough race, but I think I did real good," said the first-year Braves runner. "I thought I could do better and I wanted to break 20 minutes, but it is what it is and I tried my best."
Cedeno was in fourth at the two-mile mark ahead of Hazleton's Angie Marchetti. When she fell to fifth in the final mile the Brave tried to keep up with the Cougar, but to no avail.
Marchetti edged Cedeno at the finish line by just one-hundredth of a second.
"I stayed up with up with (Marchetti) and she really helped me get to where I got, or else I would've done worse," said Cedeno. "I got weaker and she passed me. I tried staying up with her and it worked for a half-mile but she beat me (at the end)."
Cedeno is aware of what she has to do to prepare for the District 4 meet on Oct. 25, especially with the goals she has in mind.
"This gives me a lot of confidence for districts," said Cedeno, who, along with the rest of the Braves, will be competing in a deep Class AA field for the first time at districts.