Warriors, Barons land top-10 finishes at Leagues

By on October 15, 2014
Warwick’s Samantha Shields (right) and Amanda Graber (left) lead a pack of runners through the turn at Ephrata in Tuesday’s L-L League Championships.

Warwick’s Samantha Shields (right) and Amanda Graber (left) lead a pack of runners through the turn at Ephrata in Tuesday’s L-L League Championships.

The Section Two champion Manheim Central boys cross country team finished sixth in the Lancaster-Lebanon League Meet at Ephrata Tuesday afternoon.

The Barons, coming off a 16-5 finish in the regular season, were led by senior Nate Lachman, who took 15th in a time of 17:20.

The Warwick boys and girls squads each finished 10th in the L-L Championships. Senior Amanda Graber was seventh overall in 20:16, while junior Matt Polonus took 29th in 17:48 to pace the Warwick boys runners.

Lachman edged Solanco’s Noah Brady (17:23) for the 15th overall spot.

“It was one of my best times of the year, and the best result for a Manheim Central runner in several years,” he remarked.

Talking about his strategy when confronting 160 other runners, Lachman said, “You have to go out hard and keep the pace. I’m not a closer, so I go hard and see who can stick with me.”

Second for the Baron boys was sophomore Galen Fitzkee (25th, 17:43). He was followed by senior David Dise (34th, 17:52), sophomore Ian Lauver (43rd, 18:10) and freshman David Merkey (84th, 19:10).

The Lady Barons did not have enough runners to compete as a team, but their top individuals included junior Charis Dinger (24th, 20:46), junior Alydia Gochnauer (70th, 22:53), junior Halle Funk (85th, 23:17) and freshman Maddy Nelson (114th, 24:22).

Warwick coach Jenny Sassaman takes the League meet as a look to the future.

“Amanda (Graber) had a great race today, and the rest worked really hard,” she said. “This is a rebuilding year for us, but both teams qualified for Districts, which is great.”

The MC boys will also compete as a team (top seven) in the District Three Championships, to be held next Wednesday, Oct 22 at Parkview Course in Hershey.

Graber will be looking to build on her strong finish on Tuesday at the District Meet.

“Coach wanted to try a new strategy,” she said. “I was more conservative at the beginning, and then came on stronger at the end. It’s tough with that many girls on the course. I got lucky and got out of the big pack into the front group.”

Following Graber for the Lady Warriors were junior Samantha Shields (32nd, 21:04), junior Abby Steinour (50th, 22:14), junior Malon Bailey (65th. 22:59) and junior Alli Stauffer (85th, 23:37).

On the boys side, junior Matt Polonus led the way for Warwick with a 29th place finish in 17:48.

He also talked strategy while on a busy race course.

“My goal was to start slower, then pick people off one by one in front of me,” he recalled. “I was pretty happy with the first mile, and the final time was faster than my last race.”

After Polonus came senior Will Howland (50th, 18:22), senior Karl Bruhn (56th, 18:33), junior James Latanishen (81st, 19:06) and sophomore Nich Gerenscer (95th, 19:19).

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