Three Warwick runners claim L-L League medals

By on October 18, 2017

Warwick junior Caitlyn Wagner crosses the finish line in 18th place with a solid time of 19:54.1 at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Girls Cross Country Championships on Tuesday. (Photo by Missi Mortimer)

Caitlyn Wagner had all the motivation she needed for Tuesday’s Lancaster-Lebanon League Cross Country Championships.
A year ago, she placed just three spots out of the medal hunt, taking 28th in 21:05.8.
The Warwick junior’s goal this time was to break into the top-25 and get some hardware.
Mission accomplished.
While dropping last year’s time by more than a minute, Wagner placed 18th in the girls race in a strong finish of 19:54.1 to lead the Lady Warriors at Ephrata Middle School.
“It was good to finally get (a medal) this year,” she said. “My goal was to do a sub-20, and I was right under, so when I saw that, I was pretty happy.”
Wagner was one of three Warwick runners to take home L-L medals.
On the boys side, junior Noah Martin was 11th in 16:47.2, while junior Connor Shields took 23rd place in a time of 17:03.5 to lead the Warriors.
“I was happy,” said Martin, who was competing in his first L-L Meet. “Maybe I would have hoped for a little better (time), but it’s good. I knew I had a chance to win a medal. I’ve been racing with some of the guys that were in the top all year long. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Once everyone’s in the same race, some people run better when the race is bigger, some people don’t run as well.”
Shields, who took 17th in 17:28 last year, has been recovering from a concussion and wasn’t in the form he would have liked for Tuesday’s race.
“I just didn’t perform as well as I would have wanted and the season hasn’t really come together as well as I would have liked,” Shields said.
Still, in the final team results &tstr; in which the Warwick boys, with their first five runners in the top 66, placed fifth with 190 points and the girls took seventh (204 points) &tstr; things came together great for the red-and-black.
“The teams that were ahead of us were tough and I think we surprised some teams in the League,” said coach Matt Bomberger, whose boys and girls squads went 7-3 and 3-7, respectively, in the regular season. “We’re talking about three other Section One teams that came ahead of the (boys). With big-meet scoring, you get a little different outcome, but our pack went from 11th to 66th … that’s a tight pack. I’m very happy.”
From top to bottom, Warwick’s boss was impressed with how his runners competed with confidence and didn’t get carried away with pace.
The Lady Warriors have just two seniors &tstr; Madison Leakway and Deirdre White &tstr; in the top-eight, while the boys have one in Zachary Beale.
“The future is looking very good,” said Bomberger, who took over on Sept. 21 as the team’ head coach for Terry Lee and was formally approved by the Warwick school board on Tuesday night. “We were just passing people in the last half of the race, that’s the way I want them to run and they executed well. I would say they’re all very level-headed with their running. I just try to teach smart pacing and toughness in the last half of the race and they do a good job of that on the big stage.”
Freshman Anna Martin wasn’t far from earning a medal, placing 30th in 20:42.4.
“Anna ran a gorgeous race,” Bomberger said. “She got stuck in what you call no-man’s land, so that’s tough for a freshman to come in and hold her composure like that, but she did a super job.”
In all, the Warwick girls put their first five runners in the top 64, as Leakway took 43rd in 21:30.8, freshman Sophia Nau was 62nd in 22:06.8, and White finished in 64th place in 22:11.9.
“Both teams really pulled together very nicely,” Bomberger said. “I told them that today is the day where they start to pull together tighter and they really did. I’m super impressed with both sides.”
Rounding out the top eight for the Warwick girls were junior Jaylyn Wagner in 68th (22:24.7), sophomore Leeann Runkle in 80th (22:57.5), and junior Kirsten Espenshade in 84th (23:00.0).
Turning to the boys, sophomore Parker Keares took 38th place in 17:23.4, followed by sophomores Jeremiah Hendrix in 55th in 17:40.1 and Jeremy Bell in 65th in a time of 17:57.6 to complete the Warriors’ top five.
“We were all packed in super tight,” Bomberger said, “so that helps our team unity big-time.”
Finishing out the top eight for the Warriors were sophomore David Bach in 67th in 17:58.7, junior James Barnes in 68th place in 17:58.9 and Beale in 70th place with a time of 17:59.9.

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