Warwick boys suffer first loss

By on October 5, 2011

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor bmorgan.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

Warwick cross country coach Jenny Sassaman figured the only way Manheim Township was going to beat her boys team on Tuesday was if they took the top three spots.

Turns out that’s what the Blue Streaks did.

In a battle of unbeatens, Township’s Joey Warner (17:04), Elliott Hirsch (17:07) and Connor Zimmerman (17:10) finished 1-2-3 and the Blue Streaks (17-0) dealt Warwick its first loss of the season, winning 25-32 in a big showdown in Lititz.

"I’ve got to hand it off to (Township)," Sassaman said. "The only way to beat us is to1-2-3 us and they did it. They pulled it off."

The Warriors, though, handled once-beaten Hempfield (14-3) by taking a 20-35 decision, and they also beat Donegal 15-55 to improve to 17-1 on the season.

"They had a heartbreaker," Sassaman said. "They did not have the best of races today. They didn’t have their A-game on today, and as a runner, that happens."

On the girls side, Warwick beat Donegal 17-46, but came out on the short side against both Township (15-54) and Hempfield (20-37). With just one more meet left, next Tuesday, Oct. 11 at Solanco, the Lady Warriors are now 10-8.

"Township is my call for the District title — they’re that good," Sassaman said. "They put seven girls in front of our top girl … (Our girls) try so hard. I have no qualms with their workout. They give everything they have at every race and I can’t ask for more."

Sophomore Michael Urban gave everything he had for the Warwick boys on Tuesday while posting a solid time of 17:15 on his way to a fourth-place overall finish. His goal was to break up Manheim Township’s top three and he nearly did it, placing just five seconds behind Zimmerman.

"(Michael) ran a great race … not necessarily the best time that he’s capable of, but he ran until he couldn’t go any further," Sassaman said. "He wanted to bust up into that top three so badly, and that’s kinda his MO. He goes out and he stays out and he just hangs on until he has nothing left at the end to give."

Although Sassaman was obviously disappointed to suffer the loss, she was pleased to see that only 22 seconds separated their top five runners. Ben Mueller was fifth overall in 17:16, followed by Phil Headland in seventh (17:22), Matt Lefever in 10th (17:28) and Bryson Long in 11th (17:37).

"That’s amazing," Sassaman said, "and that’s exactly where I want them to be because that’s a big-meet winner. That’s telling me a lot. Plus, practically all of them are going under 17:30. That’s a great team."

Rounding out Warwick’s top eight were Dan O’Conor in 16th place (18:13), Conor Smith in 17th (18:26) and John Beyer in 25th (18:59).

The Warriors will now look to end the regular season on a positive note next Tuesday in Solanco. They might have exceeded expectations already after losing three of their top four returning runners for various reasons.

"With that happening, they were not looking forward to a stellar season, but they’ve got talent and they’ve worked their (butts) off," Sassaman said. "I’m thrilled with their progress. They could’ve taken it tonight — it could have gone either way. Tonight it went Township’s way."

It also went Township’s way in the girls race, with the Blue Streaks taking seven of the top nine spots. Kristi Reidenbaugh paced the Warwick girls with a 10-place overall finish in 21:35, while sophomore Amy Wood was second in 13th overall in a time of 21:53, just 18 seconds behind Reidenbaugh.

"Amy Wood is just completely impressing me," Sassaman said. "She’s only a sophomore and she’s chasing down the big dogs."

Others in the Lady Warriors’ top seven were Ruth Ann Long in 17th (22:51), Emily Heckman in 20th (23:15), sophomore Monika Roschel in 21st (23:17) and Brittany Bomberger in 25th place (23:39).

Elsewhere, the Manheim Central boys finished 2-1 in a quad-meet at ELCO on Tuesday, defeating the host Raiders 21-38 and Garden Spot 25-30 while dropping a tight 26-30 decision to Penn Manor.

The Barons had a nice pack with just 12 seconds separating their top three runners, as Kyle Kegarise led the way in fifth place overall in 16:54, followed closely by Joshua Haldeman in sixth (17:02) and Mason Hepner in seventh place (17:06). Josh Lachman (10th, 17:16) and Jordan Shimer (18th, 18:10) completed Manheim Central’s top five.

On the girls’ side, the Lady Barons went 0-3 with losses to GS (20-46), ELCO (20-39) and Penn Manor (19-46). Danae Peters’ second place overall finish in 18:50 paced Central, while Alex Agesen (21st, 22:45) and Jordan Mitchell (24th, 23:04) added top-25 finishes.

Last Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Warwick boys took care of business while adding four more wins to their record, setting the stage for Tuesday’s showdown of unbeatens.

Ben Mueller placed runner-up in 17:22, just three second behind Ephrata’s Tyler Sensenig, as the Warriors knocked off pre-season favorite Conestoga Valley (22-35), in addition to Cedar Crest (21-36), Manheim Central (20-40) and Ephrata (21-39).

Michael Urban (5th, 17:45), Bryson Long (8th, 17:50) and Matt Lefever (9th, 17:51) also added top-10 finishes for the Warriors. Daniel O’Conor’s 15th-place finish in 18:07 completed the team’s top five, while Phil Headland was close behind in 16th place in 18:11.

Manheim Central, meanwhile, finished 0-4 at Cedar Crest, suffering close losses to Ephrata (26-29) and CV (26-32), along with falling to Warwick and the host Falcons (23-38).

Mason Hepner paced the Barons with a third-place finish in 17:42, and Kyle Kegarise (12th, 17:59), Josh Lachman (20th, 18:27), Josh Haldeman (27th, 19:20) and Jordan Shimer (40th, 19:53.49) rounded out the team’s top five. More RUNNERS, page B-8

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