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Miller, Curley Face Uphill Battle to Reach Cross Country States
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2020-10-07

            Donnie Miller ended his sophomore season 10 places and just four seconds short of qualifying for the PIAA Cross Country Championship meet. However, concerns over COVID-19 may prevent the Upper Perkiomen junior from reaching his goal.

            On Friday, Miller led the Indians boys to a 15-47 victory over Pottsgrove in a

Upper Perkiomen runners lead the boys team in a home

meet against Pottsgrove.  The Tribe swept the Oct. 2 race.

Pioneer Athletic Conference meet. He finished first with a time of 17 minutes, 17 seconds. Teammate Blandin Conklin took second (17:48).

            The Tribe posted the top five overall finishers. William Daub took third place (18:20), followed by Hunter Adelsberger (18:23) and Jon Carnesi (18:31). 

            Head coach Todd Niemann called the boys team the best he's led in several years. He said they are performing very well.             

"I'm happy with the way things are progressing," the coach said. "I think we can continue to get better."

            Miller, who finished in 55th place in last season's District One Class 3A meet, has made significant strides compared to where he was at this point last year according to the coach.

            However, Niemann said a reconfigured district meet, scheduled for Oct. 29-30 at Tyler State Park in Newtown, will likely only allow one team and the top five runners to advance to states.

            Upper Perkiomen's girls, led by Natalia Curley, completed the sweep of the visiting Falcons on Oct. 2. The team posted five of the top six finishers in a 20-40 win. 

            Curley – who likely faces a similar post-season fate as Miller -- finished second (22:23), nearly two minutes behind the top finisher, Pottsgrove's Naomi Hillen. Lauren Donahue ended up in third place (23:12), followed by Abigaile Fox (23:21), Alexa Guerrero (24:02) and Maggie Milkowich (24:10).

            If this season was like last year, Natalia would have a good chance to get to states," Niemann said. "She's so competitive."

            Against the Falcons, Curley started fast and pushed the pace, according to the coach. He said the runner forced Hillen to run with Curley, rather than remain in a pack with her teammates.  "Natalia ran a perfect race," Niemann said. 

            At 19 runners, the coach described the girls team as the biggest in numerous years. Most of both teams' remaining schedule, which totals four home meets but no invitationals, includes dual meets against opponents from the larger schools in the Pioneer Athletic Conference.

            Niemann said he's looking forward to seeing how Miller and Curley perform against more challenging opponents.

            "Donnie's goal will be to win every race," said the coach, whose team resumes its schedule Friday at Methacton. "I can't wait to see Natalia run against faster competition. She doesn't mind being pushed."


 

 

 

 

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