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- Streaks rally from early deficit to beat Warwick
Warriors finish 3rd at L-L League Meet MC’s Peters places 4th among girls
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor email@example.com, Staff Writer
Warwick cross country coach Jenny Sassaman calls her 2011 boys squad a "Cinderella" team.
Having lost three of their top four runners over the summer, the Warriors still persevered and put together a 20-1 regular season, placing behind only Manheim Township.
And on Tuesday afternoon, the Warwick boys were hoping to ride the pumkin carriage a little further at the L-L League Championships at Ephrata Middle School.
Looking to knock off the Blue Streaks for the L-L title, the Warwick boys ended up placing third overall with 121, just behind Township (98) and Hempfield (111).
"We were disappointed," Sassaman said. "But I will say this — they are a Cinderella team. They worked their tails off this summer."
They worked their tails off on Tuesday as well, with many of Warwick’s runners making big improvements on their times from 2010. Only the top-10 finishers received medals, and although Warwick’s Ben Mueller just missed — finishing 12th overall in 17:07 — he was recognized Tuesday for placing in the top 20.
"I looked at their times from last year to this year and they’re all 40, 45, 50 seconds better," Sassaman said. "When you’re down in the mid-17’s and below, that’s just crazy. You don’t improve that much from year to year, but they did."
While Hempfield had a 21-second spread in their top five, Warwick’s first five runners were separated by 33 seconds.
"They snuck right in there and got us," Sassaman said. "Township legitimately did well. It’s really hard to beat four, nine and 11. They have an awesome squad this year. I hope they do great at Districts."
Warwick placed three others in the top 30, with Bryson Long finishing 22nd in 17:17, Michael Urban taking 23rd in 17:18, and Matt Lefever crossing the line in 26th in 17:24.
Elsewhere in the girls race, Manheim Central’s Danae Peters placed fourth overall in 20:04. During the regular season, Penn Manor’s Greta Lindsley was the only runner to beat Peters, and the Comets’ sophomore took the L-L title on Tuesday in 19:14.
But then Elizabethtown’s Olivia Esbenshade (19:37) and Manheim Township’s McBride (19:44) snuck in front of Peters in second and third, respectively.
"I’m not really thrilled about (my race)," Peters said. "It wasn’t a very good time and I didn’t feel like I had any energy from the start. I was trying to stay with Greta the whole time and at least place second."
The Lady Barons’ sophomore was second early in the race behind Lindsley, but Esbenshade and McBride passed her near the two-mile mark.
"(Danae) just looked tired and I’m not sure what happened," Central coach Shane Adams said. "We trained a little harder (last Friday and Saturday), maybe that was a factor, but hopefully it will pay for her (at Districts). She’s had a great season. Finishing fourth here is pretty good."
Indeed, especially considering she improved on her finish from 2010, when she placed 17th overall in 20:33.
"She moved up a lot," Adams said.
Other finishers for the MC girls and their times were Jordan Mitchell (23:47), Sydney Strickler (25:51), Lexi Nolt (29:23) and Sarah Vu (30:04), as the Barons finished 18th as a team with 514 points.
"This is the first full girls team we’ve had in three years, so everything they’ve done is positive," Adams said. "I believe our program is moving in the right direction."
The Warwick girls finished 11th overall out of 19 teams with 300 points. The girls championship went to Manheim Township with 62 points.
In other action, the Manheim Central boys were 14th out of 21 teams, led by Kyle Kegarise in 30th place in 17:27. Josh Lachman was 42nd in 17:41 and Josh Haldeman finished 44th in a time of 17:48.
"Overall the team ran well," Adams said. "This year’s team has made a lot of improvements since last year. MC boys cross country is on the rise and the expectations for next season will be higher." More RUNNERS, page B-10