MC boys, Peters advance
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Race to your potential.
That was the message that Manheim Central cross country Shane Adams delivered to his boys runners prior to the District Three Double-A Championships last Wednesday, Oct. 24.
The Barons’ boss thought if they did that, they had a realistic shot to qualify as a team for the PIAA State Meet.
With their top five runners placing in the top 57 at Hersheys’ grueling Parkview cross country course, the Central boys grabbed the Double-A field’s third and final berth to States with 205 points, just ahead of L-L rival Lancaster Mennonite (250). Annville-Cleona won the title with 100 points, following closely by York Suburban (127).
The Baron boys’ accomplishment was the icing on the cake for Manheim Central, following a 23rd-place finish out of 234 runners in 20:41 by junior Danae Peters in the Triple-A girls race which clinched her second straight trip to States.
The PIAA State Championships are slated for this Saturday, Nov. 3 back at Hershey’s Parkview course. The Triple-A girls are scheduled to run at 11 a.m., with the Double-A boys slated for 12:30 p.m.
"It was a good day for us," Adams said. "I just told (the boys) to take advantage of this opportunity that they have because these opportunities don’t come very often. They just have to run to their potential and they can (qualify for States)."
Using a formula that it followed with success during a ….. regular season, Central capitalized on a tight pack, with just 48 seconds separating their top five runners.
Senior Mason Hepner led the way with a 27th-place finish in 18:05 out of 219 finishers, missing a medal by just seven spots. Senior Josh Lachman was next in 35th place in 18:20, followed closely by his brother Nate, a sophomore, in 37th place in 18:23. Junior Kyle Kegarise (51st, 18:41) and senior Jordan Shimer (57th, 18:53) rounded out the Barons’ top five.
Other finishers for Manheim Central were sophomore David Dise (138th, 20:06) and senior Peter Hershey (206th, 21:57).
"That’s how it’s been all year," Adams said of his team’s pack. "I think that’s what gave us a shot to finish in the top three because most of the schools have maybe one or two, but they don’t have the depth that we have, especially in the Double-A race."
Hepner got a quick start out of the gates, running in a four-way tie for 21st place at the one-mile point in a time of 5:09. His second-mile pace was 6:03, giving him a time of 11:12 while positioned in a 22nd-place tie with York Suburban senior Kirk Beaver.
"I think (Mason) tried to keep it at a reasonable pace," Adams said, "because most of the time he’ll take it out too fast and have nothing left (later). I think he raced well."
Although Hepner ended up falling a little bit short of a medal, the Barons were more focused on the big picture. Including track and field, this will be the first time that these boys compete at the State level.
"I think they were more excited that they (moved on to States) as a team," Adams said. "That was pretty neat … Now it’s just about going to the State Meet and competing well and trying to finish in the top 10. We ran at the PA Foundation race and we faced a lot of those schools that we’ll face again and we finished 10th."
Despite not being at 100 percent due to her battling a case of bronchitis, Peters will also be back in Chocolatetown this Saturday
"It’s just that she wants to be the best," Adams said, "and she wants to race with all of them … it’s just her competitive nature."
Adams acknowledged that there were roughly three weeks where Peters wasn’t able to practice well because of her sickness, but the MC junior showed her competitive nature while earning a return trip to Hershey.
"I don’t know if she is (fully recovered)," Adams said. "(Danae)’s been running and battling bronchitis, so we’re pleased that she was able to regroup and race well. And this is her second consecutive year going to this meet. So that’s pretty neat to see a girl go back-to-back like that."
Peters ran a first-mile time of 5:54, which positioned her 22nd overall, and then as the runners started tackling several challenging hills, her second-mile time dipped to 6:56. But although she might not have finished as strong as she would liked, Peters managed to hold on for a State berth. Overall, the top 33 finishers, including 13 who qualified with a team, advanced to States. Daniel Boone junior Alex Hamil clinched the final spot after placing 33rd in 21:07.
"That (first mile) was a little too fast for her," Adams said. "You’d like to have them a little more consistent, but I think sometimes in a large field like that, she likes to get out in that first mile and then settle it down." More MC RUNNERS, page B-12