Jenna Lang finishes seventh at PIAA Cross Country Championships


Jill Lang

Jenna Lang preserving through the heat to make it to the finish line at PIAA Cross Country Championships at Hershey, PA on Nov. 7.

On an unusually warm day on Nov. 7, Bethel Park freshman Jenna Lang and 103 more girls from all different parts of Pennsylvania set foot on the Parkview Cross Country Course in Hershey, Pa. to run what could be the most important race of their 2020 season.

“Going into the race, I felt nervous yet excited to see how I’d do,” said Lang. “During the race, I tried to keep the defending state champion, Mia Cochran, in sight.”

Cochran is a junior from Moon and is a returning WPIAL and PIAA cross country champion, whom Lang had raced multiple times before. Cochran placed first in the race with a time of 18:28.

The day’s strange weather, a temperature of above 70 degrees in November, added more than a minute to her personal record that she set at the Bald Eagle Invite on Oct. 3.

“The last mile left I could feel myself getting exhausted. It was a super hot day and a hilly course. Two things that don’t mix well together,” Lang said with a laugh.

Although the warm weather made it difficult to keep going, Lang preserved and ended up finishing in seventh place with a time of 19:21. Only one other freshman finished ahead of her, Claire Paci from Greencastle-Antrim who placed fourth.

“The last 400 meters left of the race I tried to give it everything I had, coming in second in my heat and seventh out of 100 girls in the 3A division,” said Lang. “After the race, I fell to the ground exhausted, struggling to get up, but when I finally did, I was happy it was over. When I found out I got seventh place, I was so excited. Not only because I achieved my goal of getting top 10, but because I would get one of those really cool PIAA medals.”

Jenna Lang poses with her seventh-place PIAA medal outside the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. (Scott Staranko)

Lang’s teammate, returning PIAA silver medalist and Oklahoma State recruit Emily Carter, did not race.

Lang will take a two-week break before she starts training for her indoor track season. She is excited to work harder for the next three years, so she can hopefully win that title one day.