Foster Closes Career with State Medal

By on November 7, 2018
Ephrata’s Andrew Foster (top) displays his State medal after his final race Saturday in Hershey. Photo by Bruce Morgan

Ephrata’s Andrew Foster (top) displays his State medal after his final race Saturday in Hershey. Photo by Bruce Morgan

Lone local medalist places 19th

After a runner-up finish a week ago at the District Three Cross Country Championships, Ephrata senior Andrew Foster felt as though a top-five finish at States held this past Saturday at the Parkview Course in Hershey was “doable.”

Unfortunately, a quick, early pace on a muddy course caused him to drop off in the second mile. By that time, with his goal pretty much out of the question, he just fought to pick off as many runners as he could in order to reach the medal stand.

That mission was accomplished.

The senior finished with a time of 16:54 which earned him 19th place overall. Since the top-25 finishers at States walk away with a medal, Foster , who placed 34th a year ago, was able to close out his high school career with a medal around his neck.

“I would’ve liked to have done better, but at the same time you can’t really be disappointed with a medal at a meet like this,” he said following the race.

It all came down to the start, where he said he wanted to run a conservative first mile but didn’t want to fall too far behind.

“I may have gone out faster than I would have liked to go,” he admitted. “I went through the first mile pretty quick (4:56) and I think that’s what hurt me. I just started dropping back the second mile so then it took a lot to come back the third mile.”

“He ran well,” Ephrata Coach Mike Hershberger said. “It was right about where we were expecting him to be. We were hoping something higher, but he ran right about where we were expecting him…like top 20, so that was good.”

Hershberger said while you want to be conservative at the start, there is a balance there not to let the lead pack get too far out in front.

“You want to stay as conservative as you can but not drop back too far,” he said. ‘If you have to pass everybody, you are out of the race too early. But you also don’t want to ruin your race in the first mile, so it’s a tough balance, especially as fast as this is and the talent that we have here. Most of all, I was pleased that five of the top 25 runners were from the Lancaster-Lebanon League. It’s a pretty impressive showing from our league.”

Indeed.

Patrick Anderson of Mount Lebanon captured the gold in the boys’ AAA race while the North Allegheny tandem of Zachary Kinne (16:07) and Daniel McGoey (16:09) finished second and third respectively.

District Three champion Evan Dorenkamp of Manheim Township led the L-L contingent with a seventh-place finish with a time of 16:36. Manheim Township’s Ian Miller (16:45) was next in 13th place, followed by Foster, and Warwick’s Connor Shields (20th, 16:54) and Noah Martin (21st, 16:54).

While Foster found his way to the medal stand, three other local runners fell short of that goal.

Ephrata’s Mary Campbell closes in on the finish line during the girls AAA race. Photo by Bruce Morgan

Ephrata’s Mary Campbell closes in on the finish line during the girls AAA race. Photo by Bruce Morgan

On the boys’ side, Cocalico senior Evan Kreider, who was 52nd a year ago, fell all the way to 171st, finishing with a time of 18:15. In the girls’ AAA race, Ephrata’s Mary Campbell and Alyssa Fedorshak, both top 15 finishers at Districts, were 50th (20:30) and 64th (20:44), respectively.

Unlike Foster, Kreider got off to a perfect start but hit his struggles in the middle of the race, according to his coach, Ron Derr..

“(Saturday) was a rough day for Evan,” Derr said. “He has an amazing lists of accomplishments and accolades so he was really hoping and training to finish with a state medal. The initial portion of race was fantastic. Evan prefers to lay back a bit at the start but the with field he was competing against, and also with the conditions of the course we knew he had to get out fast and establish a very good early position. He did exactly that and going into the small section of trees about a quarter mile into the course he was positioned perfectly. It was shortly after that he began to experience some struggles and he quickly began to fall back. In a race of this caliber once he began drifting back it became increasingly difficult to get back into the race with the leaders, so unfortunately it wasn’t the race we wanted to have to finish the season and his career.”

Still, as a three-time league and District medalist, as well as a three-time State qualifier, Kreider will be remembered as one of the Cocalico greats.

“I don’t know if I can put everything into words regarding his career at Cocalico,” Derr said. “During his four years our boys teams have had section records of 33-8 and he was our leader in helping us earn our first section title and highest league meet finish in school history. He would be right in the mix if I were to name an all-time team from Cocalico. He is the second most decorated runner in the history of the program to Brett Meckley. His desire and drive have been the fuel to a fantastic stretch in the history of our program. With the passion he has for running I think he could be an outstanding coach himself in the future. I am so proud of all that he has accomplished and words cannot adequately express how much he will be missed moving forward.”

As for Campbell, a junior, and Fedorshak, a sophomore, while neither medaled both improved upon their races from a year ago when finished 94th while Fedorshak placed 101st.

Both got off to good starts but just ran out of gas.

“They ran fine…they put themselves in the race,” Hershberger said. “The goal was to get into the race and see what happens. They were right around 25 to 30 halfway through the race, which is where we wanted them. They just ran out of gas. But they put everything into it toward the finish, so it was good. I’m happy with them for going out and going for it. This is the fastest start they’ll see all season, so they put themselves in the fast start and it’s just a matter of how you’re going to recover from that because somewhere during your race, you have to recover and then re-surge. So the kids that did well are the ones that recovered and re-surged.”

Despite the late fade by both runners, each of them were pleased with their respective performances.

“I felt really good,” Campbell said. “I just went out there and I just really wanted it this year and the whole time, I was in, like, the 20s, and it was just that last little bit that really pushed me back a little. But I’m just really proud of myself. I’m definitely happy with my time. I’m just happy because last year, I got, like, 90th, and this year was (a big improvement).”

Fedorshak said, “I felt like, compared to last year, I did a lot better. Last year, my body was shredded, I was done for the season and I was just happy to make it here. But this year, I knew I had a much better chance. My body felt a lot better, I felt more prepared, so I knew that I hit rock bottom last year and the only way to go was up.

“At the end of the race, my body was dead, but I just gave it my all, I just gave every little last piece of energy I had – this is my last race and whatever I lay out, I’m not going to regret. I feel more accomplished than last year.”

West Chester Henderson freshman Jenna Mulhern captured the girls’ AAA title with a winning time of 18:42. Kileigh Kane (18:55) of State College placed second while Allyson Clarke (19:05) of West Chester East was third.

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