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Runners close out season at District Meet
TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor email@example.com
, Staff Writer
The finish line, as well as a State berth, were within Andrea Castillo’s sights as she came down the stretch of last Tuesday’s District Three Girls AAA cross country race.
Then disaster happened to her on the Parkview Course in Hershey.
After navigating the difficult back-to-back hills in the middle of the course, the Ephrata junior was in position to nail down a top spot and earn her first berth into the State Meet. But with about 200 yards to go, Castillo stepped in a hole, and she fell. Although she would get back on her feet and close it out, while she was down, a pack of runners passed her which included the last runner to make states.
Castillo still finished in 32nd place with a time of 20:30, just three places out of the top 29 runners who will be moving on.
"Andrea was upset (about not making States), but her reaction to the adversity of not making her goal was an example of her character," Ephrata Coach Mike Hershberger said. "She did not complain about the course or being so close to going to States. She simply said, ‘a year ago I would have never thought I would be so close to making the State Cross Country Meet."
While no runners from Ephrata or Cocalico advanced to States, Castillo was the top local finisher, leading the Ephrata girls’ team to a 13th place finish in the team competition. Three other EHS girls finished in the top 100, led by Jordan Carvell’s 65th finish in a time of 21:12. Vanessa Hurst was 70th (21:22) while Haley Schaller placed 82nd (21:24). Madison Fox (122nd, 22:17), Erica Voigt (129th, 22:26) and Taylor Zvitkovitz (162nd, 22:56) also competed for the Lady Mounts.
"The rest of our team ran a solid race," Hershberger said. "As a team, they improved six places from last year’s 19th place finish so that was nice to see."
As for the Mountaineer boys, they finished 28th in the team standings and were led by Nate Becker, who finished 78th in a time of 17:50. Next was freshman Zach Lefever (115th, 18:15), and he was followed by Rhett Hart (156th, 18:38), Tyler Gallagher (181st, 19:00), Josiah Nimon (199th, 19:14), and Sam Anyona (245th, 21:02).
"The boys had two returning runners and four new runners from the District team from last year because of graduation, however they still managed improve three places," Hershberger noted.
As for Cocalico the Eagles sent seven boy runners and three girls to Districts. And according to Head Coach Ron Derr, the Cocalico runner turned in solid races both on the boys and girls sides.
In boys’ action, Aaron Longstaff was the top Cocalico finisher, placing 163rd in a time of 18:43. Andrew Weston (173rd, 18:53) was next, followed by Jake Renninger (207th, 19:22), Tyler Gerber (228th, 19:47), Michael Verdegem (234th, 20:10), Ken Wallace (236th, 20:17) and Andrew Walsh (241st, 20:40).
On the girls’ side, Maegan Weinhold led the Lady Eagles with a 217th place finish in a time of 23:39. Tabitha Derr was next in 225th place (23:53) while Sarah Magee came in in 238th position (25:22).
"Going into the race I was more than a little concerned that since we had put so much emphasis on qualifying for the event that they might have a difficult time motivating themselves to put forward that final huge effort to complete the season," Derr said of the race. "It was very evident during our walk through that they were excited to be there, but wanted to run well. For the most part we had a very solid day at the District race. Aaron Longstaff and Andrew Weston, who emerged as the late season leaders for the boys team, ran times with 10 seconds of their league performance. Other very solid runs were turned in by Tyler Gerber, Meagan Weinhold, Michael Verdegem and Kenny Wallace.
"Our top performances of the day were completed by Tabitha Derr and Jake Renninger who completed the District course over 15 seconds faster than what they ran the previous week in Ephrata (at the L-L League Meet). So all in all, is was a great day for our kids."
More RUNNERS, page B-3