Loyalsock’s Quinn Serfass makes it a sweep for Lancers in cross country

Loyalsock’s Quinn Serfass finishes in first place during the District 4 Boys Class AA Cross County Championships at Bloomsburg University on Thursday morning.

BLOOMSBURG –Quinn Serfass knew he shouldn’t look over his shoulder, but he couldn’t help himself. The only thing the Loyalsock junior could think as he worked his way toward the finish line Thursday was where the heck is Milton’s Tyler Leeser?

So like Ron Turcotte in the 1972 Belmont Stakes, Serfass’ curiosity got the best of him and he looked over his shoulder. There was nobody there.

Serfass won his first District 4 cross country championship Thursday afternoon at Bloomsburg University, besting Leeser by four seconds in the Class AA race. Returning district champion Isaac Davis, of Jersey Shore, finished sixth in the AA race to qualify for next week’s state meet in Hershey.

Leeser helped Milton win the AA team championship as the Black Panthers defeated Lewisburg, 60-71, on the strength of three finishers in the top 18. Both Milton and Lewisburg will compete as a team at states.

Joining Serfass, Leeser and Davis as individual qualifiers in the AA state tournament are Loyalsock’s Ryan Sullivan (seventh), Warrior Run’s Cassidy Hoffman (13th) and Damien Moser (16th), and Cowanesque Valley’s Madden Doud (15th).

In the Class A meet, Northeast Bradford cruised to the team title, besting Southern Columbia, 28-55, with five of its top finishers in the top 10. Wellsboro’s Aiden Perry was the lone individual state qualifier in the Class A meet, finishing fifth. Returning district champion Hunter Crawley, of South Williamsport, finished 11th, more than a minute behind champion Casey Ellis, of Northeast Bradford.

Serfass is the first Loyalsock boy to win a District 4 cross country championship. The Lancers’ Isabel Sagar won the school’s first district title earlier in the day in the girls’ Class A race.

“I’m feeling pretty good. It’s all a blur,” said Serfass, who qualified for the state meet a year ago. “I can’t remember anything that happened. It was a fun race and I’m glad I got to run with (Leeser and Davis).”

Serfass, Leeser and Davis broke away from the pack early. Through one loop of the course on upper campus at Bloomsburg University, the three were running shoulder-to-shoulder. But as the three closed the second loop of the course, Davis began to fall behind the pack.

And by the time Serfass and Leeser cleared the hospital loop and headed for the stretch run, Serfass created a little space between the two. He had done it by drafting off Leeser during the race so he could conserve some energy for the final stretch.

“That was a big help,” Serfass said. “Tyler drafted off Isaac at the bottom of the hill, too. It really worked out well for both of us.”

Serfass was concerned about Leeser’s late kick because of the Milton junior’s proficiency as a 400 and 800 runner during the spring track season. But by the two hit the final stretch run, Serfass had built too big a lead for Leeser to overcome.

“It just feels good. It feels real good,” Serfass said. “We have a great coach who helped both Isabel and me get to where we are today.”

Davis, who held the fourth-best time in Class AA in the state this year, needed more than seven minutes to finish the final 1.1 miles of the race which left him with a sixth-place finish. His time of 17:30 was nearly a full minute slower than his winning time a year ago, and 40 seconds behind Serfass.

“He started slowing down the pace and I thought he was waiting for the last little bit because we were all running off him,” Serfass said. “Then I thought he would kick at the end and destroy us. But I don’t know what happened after that.”

Perry said his only concern was finding a way to run with Northeast Bradford’s Garrett Smith for the entirety of the Class A race. That push, with Smith finishing second, was enough to drive Perry to a 5:41 pace and take the third of five individual qualifying spots for states.

“I felt like I was giving it my best,” Perry said. “I didn’t have much left at the end.”

Perry missed out on a trip to states last year when he cramped up during the race and didn’t finish nearly as well as he would have liked. But was among the front-runners of a fast pace Thursday and maintained that pace.

“Last year made me a little more humble coming into this and it really eased my nerves,” Perry said. “I’m really, really happy with how I did.”