There were no team titles won by Elk Lake or Lackawanna Trail at the District 2 Cross Country Championships, but when the dust settled on Wednesday (Oct. 25) at Lakeland High School, the day was certainly still a success.
Two runners from both of Elk Lake’s teams, along with two from Trail’s girls squad, all finished in the top 10 to qualify for the PIAA Championships in Hershey on Nov. 4.
Elk Lake junior Shyanne Bennett and sophomore Sadie Bosscher placed third and fourth, respectively, and earned individual berths to the state meet.
Bennett finished seventh and Bosscher in fifth at last year’s race.
Senior Lydia Ofalt also medalled by finishing in 13th overall, but did not qualify for the state meet.
Lackawanna Trail sophomore Victoria James finished fifth and also qualified for states, as did teammate and sophomore Madison Swanchak, who placed eighth.
Jones is off to states for the second consecutive year and improved on an eighth place finish from last year, while Swanchak will be making her debut.
The Elk Lake duo of junior Peyton Jones and senior Cody Oswald were fourth and fifth, respectively, and qualified for states as individuals.
The PIAA Championships will be held in Hershey on Saturday, Nov. 4.
For the Elk Lake girls, this year had a different feel to it, since the Lady Warriors did not have enough runners to field a complete team.
However, head coach Will Squier was happy with the end result of the day, all things considered.
“I’m satisfied,” Squier said. “We tried to do the best we could and had an outside shot to get all three of our girls to states, and all three were able to medal. We’re certainly satisfied, and we’re thankful for what we were able to do. I think Sadie and Shyanne both have a shot at finishing in the top 25 at states, so we’re going to go after it. We’re looking at times and doing workouts to get the times we need to hit. It all comes down to them doing the best that they can and see where it all washes out when we get there.”
A year after missing the race because of an illness, Holy Cross senior Lexi Walsh, who won the Class 1A individual title as a sophomore, reclaimed her crown and covered the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes, 51.85 seconds.
Walsh took the lead from the start of the race and was never headed.
The Lady Crusaders had six of the top 14 finishers to cruise to the team title with 24 points.
Wyo. Seminary edged host Lakeland, 72-73, for second.
And though Elk Lake had its four year streak of sending a team to states snapped, the Lady Warriors are trending in the right direction to get back competing for the team title.
“I hope that we’ll be back with a full team next year,” Squier said. “I anticipate that we will, but you never know how things will go.”
In the boys 1A race, Brandon Curley of Montrose took individual honors in 16:16.35, while the Meteors had seven of the top 12 finishers to repeat as district team champions with 26 points.
For the Warriors, the strong finishes from Jones and Oswald, who improved from sixth and fifth finishes from last year, were consistent of the regular season.
“They’re going to both pay attention to the top 25 at states and see if they can’t slip onto the medal stand, which I think they’re both capable of doing,” Squier said. “It will be fun for us to go down there and have them all medal, that would be a satisfying way to end the season. Right now, we have to break down the race and course and put all the pieces together. I have an overview of the course and we’re trying to do all of our runs with that course in mind.”
And while Elk Lake will be surrounded by some familiar runners from Holy Cross and Montrose at the state meet, Squier would rather the Warriors concentrate on their own race rather than completely following the lead of others.
“It can help, but it can also hurt you,” he said. “I’m very careful of the idea of keying on a runner or on another team and that it will automatically guarantee something to happen. There’s been a lot runners who do well, but get up to states and don’t. The whole environment has a tension to it and it’s different than any other race from the year. You have to be mentally prepared and believe you can, and will, do it. If that’s not there, the excitement that needs to be inside you to be able to do it doesn’t come together.”
That excitement shouldn’t be hard for the quad of Elk Lake runners to find, especially because all four are making return trips to the state meet.
“It’s very hard to go down there and do well without ever having been there before,” Squier added. “I’ve seen kids and teams do it, but I think you almost have to be there for a year to have a really good race and medal.”
The end goal for the Tunkhannock Area cross country team is to qualify as many runners to the state meet as possible, but for the first time in several years, the Tigers will not have any representatives in the race.
In the boys 2A race, Dallas’ Jack Zardecki won in 16:18.19 to help lead the Mountaineers, the two-time defending state champion, to the team title with 32 points.
Holy Redeemer was second with 64 points and also qualified for states, while Crestwood was third with 96.
The Tunkhannock boys were seventh overall with 183 points.
Pacing the Tigers was junior Leighf Brown in 25th with a finish of 18:24.
Senior Ben Tidball, who finished right behind Brown in 26th place, failed to qualify in making his third consecutive trip to Hershey.
Mia Bellucci captured the Class 2A girls race, covering the course in 19 minutes, 25.32 seconds to finish more than 38 seconds ahead of Holy Redeemer senior Lindsey Williams, last year’s district champion.
Four other Prep runners finished in the top 17 as the undefeated Lackawanna League champion Classics claimed the district team title with 38 points. Dallas was second with 80 points.
Junior Madelyn Franko paced the Lady Tigers in 49th place with a finish of 23:11.
Times-Shamrock sports writer Scott Walsh also contributed to this story.
CLASS 1A GIRLS Team Standings
1. Holy Cross 24; Wyoming Seminary 72; Lakeland 73; Lackawanna Trail 91; Old Forge 108; MMI 171
1. Lexi Walsh (Holy Cross), 19:51.85; 3. Shyanne Bennett, Elk Lake 21:04.01; 4. Sadie Bosscher (EL), 21:09.64; 5. Victoria James (LT), 21:16.05; 8. Madison Swanchak (LT), 21:48.99; 13. Lydia Ofalt (EL), 22:26; 34. Kathleen Rodenbach (LT), 26:42; 40. Caroline Skade (LT), 28:35; 44. McKenna Lee (LT), 28:56; 46. Alaina Jones (LT), 30:28; 53. Elonna Spencer (LT), 32:05.
CLASS 1A BOYS Team Standings
1. Montrose 26; Lakeland 63; Holy Cross 101; Elk Lake 109; Blue Ridge 132; Susquehanna 161; Lackawanna Trail 218; Mountain View 240; Wyoming Seminary 264; Forest City 273; MMI 285; Northwest 287
1. Brandon Curley (Montrose), 16:16.35; 4. Peyton Jones (EL), 17:06.18; 5. Cody Oswald (EL) 17:21.81; 20. Brett Carney (EL), 18:52; 28. Kale Decker (EL), 19:41; 29. JJ Sharpe (LT), 19:42; 39. Isaac Vierling (LT), 20:34; 45. Alec Jones (LT), 20:55; 50. Jared Klepadlo (LT), 21:00; 55. Jake Werle (EL), 21:19; 65. Nick Maskaly (LT), 22:20; 76. Devin Bennett (EL), 23:45; 77. Micah Gaylord (EL), 23:47; 79. Erik Craig-Peysson (LT), 24:28; 86. Michael Jacoby (LT), 26:27.
CLASS 2A BOYS Team Standings:
1. Dallas 32; Holy Redeemer 64; Crestwood 96; Berwick 123; Scranton Prep 128; Honesdale 166; Tunkhannock 183; Lake-Lehman 230; Hanover Area 272; Valley View 278; Pittston Area 319; Coughlin 333; North Pocono 346; West Scranton 374; Wyoming Area 399; Dunmore 414; GAR 467; Mid Valley 481.
1. Jack Zardecki (Dallas), 16:18.19; 25. Leighf Brown (TUN), 18:24; 26. Ben Tidball (TUN), 18:25; 28. Peter Sayre (TUN), 18:29; 42. Adam Hodge (TUN), 19:11; 67. Noah Gruver (TUN), 20:07; 91. Alex Bushre (TUN), 20:59; 116. Nathan Myers (TUN), 22:20.
CLASS 2A GIRLS Team Standings:
1. Scranton Prep 38; Dallas 80; Honesdale 94; Lake-Lehman 105; Holy Redeemer 113; Valley View 130; Western Wayne 156; Hanover Area 237; Wyoming Area 272; Crestwood 282; North Pocono 302; Dunmore 348; West Scranton 356; GAR 381
1. Mia Bellucci (Scranton Prep), 19:25.32; 49. Madelyn Franko (TUN), 23:11; 55. Alison Edwards (TUN), 23:49; 62. Camryn Rogers (TUN), 24:25; 81. Anna Brown (TUN), 26:18.