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Three medalists help Warriors place 3rd at L-L Meet WHS girls take 5th, MC boys 9th
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Most times, putting three runners in the top 16 at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Cross Country Championships isn’t a bad day.
That, in fact, is what the Warwick boys did on Tuesday at Ephrata Middle School.
On this day, however, Penn Manor was a little bit better, placing three in the top six en route to claiming the boys crown with a total of 69 points. That was 31 points ahead of runner-up Hempfield (100), and the Warriors were a close third with 104 points.
"It’s hard to beat that," Warwick coach Jenny Sassaman said of Penn Manor’s feat. "… I knew Penn Manor was the team to beat and I knew they were going to be really tough. They have a 1-2-3 punch with three guys (Harrison Schettler, Jonathan Bitner and Travis Wells) under 17 (minutes). I was hoping that we would be able to have one person under 17, (but) I don’t think the guys ran horribly. I think they did well. They just didn’t have the firepower that Penn Manor does. Could we have beaten Hempfield? Yes. But we didn’t."
It certainly wasn’t for lack of effort. Michael Urban (17:03) and Ben Mueller (17:04) placed seventh and ninth overall, respectively, and nearly broke the 17-minute barrier, and Matt Lefever ran a solid race while breaking the top 20 to earn a medal. He ended up in 16th place in a time of 17:17.
"That was great," Sassaman said of getting three medalists. "There are many, many bright spots, and to have your top six under 50, that’s great … They’re doing great."
Finishing inside the top 50 for the Warriors included Daniel O’Connor (31st, 17:31), Will Howland (41st, 17:44) and Austin Minnich (43rd, 17:46). Other finishers for Warwick included Conor Smith (68th, 18:21) and Jordan Garner (73rd, 18:26).
In the girls race, sophomore Amanda Graber took 16th overall to earn a medal in 20:24 and help lead the Lady Warriors to a fifth-place finish with 166 points. Hempfield won the team title with 96 points, followed closely by Garden Spot (103). Ephrata (131) and Solanco (132), the Section champion, were third and fourth, respectively, followed by the Warwick girls.
"I’m really pleased with the girls," Sassaman said. "These girls are doing great and they’re young. I wanted them to be competitive with Garden Spot, Ephrata and Solanco. Just see how close they could get. I said, ‘If you all have your A-plus day, you could be up there.’"
Senior Emily Cameron barely missed a medal, taking 24th in a time of 20:43. McCaskey’s Martha Boben took the final medal in 20th place in 20:29.
"Emily, with as little running as she did (over the summer due to swimming), to get 24th is amazing," Sassaman said.
The Lady Warriors, like the boys, placed six runners in the top 50, including Rachel Mueller (38th, 21:17), Samantha Shields (43rd, 21:27), Amy Wood (46th, 21:29) and Tia Holland (48th, 21:35). Maddie Class (54th, 21:55) and Monica Roshcel (69th, 22:26) rounded out Warwick’s finishers. Holland, a sophomore, didn’t run in the pre-season with the team, but earned a season-high finish by placing sixth for the team on Tuesday.
"The number one thing I have to say about the girls and the guys is that I have never either volunteered or coached or been on a team as close as the guys and the girls," Sassaman said. "There’s no cliques and they pick each other up."
Turning to Manheim Central, the Barons boys followed through on a 14-7 regular season by placing ninth at Leagues with 217 points, led by Mason Hepner’s 32nd place finish in 17:38. Kyle Kegarise (40th, 17:44), Josh Lachman (42nd, 17:45), and Nate Lachman (46th, 17:52) also broke 18:00.
Rounding out the top seven were Jordan Shimer (57th, 18:01), David Dise (92nd, 19:00) and Peter Hershey (133rd, 20:13).
"I thought we ran well," Central coach Shane Adams said. "(The goal) was just to be competitive and finish in the top 10. We had one of our best seasons ever. I think (the top guys) ran that first mile a little too fast. They tried to run with everyone and they came to race."
Danae Peters’ seventh-place finish led the Lady Barons, who took 16th as a team with 382 points. Behind Peters were Charis Dinger (67th, 22:27), Jordan Mitchel (88th, 23:11), Katie Fair (103rd, 23:53), Alydia Gochnauer (117th, 25:31) and Alex Agesen (119th, 26:32).
"Overall both teams ran well," Adams said. "This has been a good season for MC cross country and has set the expectations higher for next season." More CROSS COUNTRY, page B-8