TOWAMENCIN — It was a day in which the mind would be tested just as much as the legs and body.

"I just pretended it wasn't hot,' North Penn's Brianna Mengini said. "I kept telling myself it was very cold out.'

It must have helped, as Mengini was the first runner across in helping the North Penn girls earn a 17-46 win over visiting Wissahickon Wednesday afternoon.

Running in 90-degree heat for the first time since July practices, the Knights too persevered, battling to a 18-45 victory over the Trojans.

"Hot. Very, very hot,' said the Knights' Ryan Grace, sweat dripping off his brow as he cheered the rest of his teammates across the finish line. "We just wanted to stay with their front guy and then with a thousand meters to go, see where everything is and just go.'

It was there that Grace pulled away, finishing first in 17 minutes, 1 second. Teammate Ryan Tung wasn't far behind in 17:04.

Lukas Marcelis of Wissahickon, up with Grace and Tung for much of the race, took third in 17:10. Marcelis led the way for Wiss on a day in which the Trojans raced without their No. 2 runner.

The Knights (3-0) packed it in well, their No. 1 and No. 4 guys just 29 seconds apart.

"That's the tightest our four have been, which is good, especially with the weather conditions, and it was good competition,' Knights coach Mike Werner said. "(Marcelis) is a really good runner. He really battled in that last 1,000 and forced our guys to step up the way they did.'


The Maidens (3-0) had a similar finish up front, as their top three had just a 26-second gap, with Mengini (20:22), Valenti (20:39) and Phoebe Clowser (20:48) going 1-2-3. Wissahickon's Lotte Black was fourth in 21 minutes flat.

North Penn is without three of its original top seven, due to illness and injury, but the Maidens still looked solid.

"Hopefully, the other girls keep picking it up for us,' coach Jim Crawford Jr. said.

North Penn’s Brianna Mengini, right, along with teammates and Wissahickon girls cross country runners launch for their meet at North Penn High School
North Penn's Brianna Mengini, right, along with teammates and Wissahickon girls cross country runners launch for their meet at North Penn High School on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013. (Mark C Psoras/The Reporter)

It was not a great opportunity for top times, but the Knights' Michael Cooney managed to run his best race of the season, hammering the home course for a fifth-place finish.

"It was a good mental toughness day,' Werner said, "and as long as we came out healthy, I'm pleased.'

North Penn and Wissahickon both travel to the Bulldog Invitational Saturday. The Knights and Maidens will open their Suburban One League Continental Conference schedule at Souderton Wednesday.

North Penn 17, Wissahickon 46

At North Penn

1. Brianna Mengini (NP) 20:22; 2. Ali Valenti (NP) 20:39; 3. Phoebe Clowser (NP) 20:48; 4. Lotte Black (W) 21:00; 5. Colleen McGovern (NP) 21:50; 6. Mikaela Vlasic (NP) 22:40; 7. Sarah Tung (NP) 22:53; 8. Kirsten Hatton (NP) 23:10; 9. Emily Mesaris (NP) 23:11; 10. Tara McLaughlin (NP) 23:18; 11. Yasmeen Warmers (W) 23:39; 12. Jenna Feltes (W) 24:03; 13. Yun Cho (W) 24:19; 14. Maddy Little (NP) 24:31; 15. Cara Pearson (NP) 25:09; 16. Shannon U (W) 25:16.

Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10.