Foster claims District silver

By on October 31, 2018

Will be joined by Fedorshak, Campbell and Cocalico’s Kreider at States

Ephrata’s Andrew Foster (left) battles it out near the lead at the one-mile mark Saturday at the District Three Championships. At right, Ephrata’s Mary Campbell (left) and Alyssa Fedorshak run side by side during the girls’ AAA race at Big Spring. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Ephrata’s Andrew Foster battles it out near the lead at the one-mile mark Saturday at the District Three Championships. Photo by Missi Mortimer

The weather at Saturday’s District Three Cross Country Championships at Big Spring High School was dreadful to most.

Wind, rain and lots of mud made the 3.1 course quite a soggy mess.

However, Ephrata’s Andrew Foster didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he welcomed it.

And Foster then went out and showed it.

The senior, who placed third at the L-L League Meet two weeks ago, slogged and splashed his way to a second-place finish with a time of 16:35.1 to grab the silver.

“I’ve had some of my best races in the rain,” Foster said following the race. “Ever since this pouring meet at Cedar Crest, ever since then I’ve just loved it. The worst weather possible, the better.”

Foster, who kicked hard late to overcome Brandon Knepper of Mechanicsburg (16:37.4) for second, couldn’t quite catch Manheim Township’s Evan Dorenkamp, the L-L League runner-up, who earned the AAA gold with a winning time of 16:30.7.

“Right around ‘Kill Hill,’ Dorenkamp got up there and just got ahead of me, and then going down the hill he started to open it up coming to the finish,” Foster said.

After the second mile when he was also passed by Knepper, Foster knew it was time to kick.

“They had a decent 25 meters on me and it was opening up a bit,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to get it but I really tried to dig deep and just focus on trying to catch at least one of them. And that’s what I ended up doing coming down the the finish.”

“Obviously the goal is to always go out and win…that’s how I like to run races. But you can’t be disappointed with second especially in a big meet like this.”

Ephrata’s Mary Campbell (left) and Alyssa Fedorshak run side by side during the girls’ AAA race at Big Spring. Photo by Missi Mortimer

Ephrata’s Mary Campbell (left) and Alyssa Fedorshak run side by side during the girls’ AAA race at Big Spring. Photo by Missi Mortimer

In addition, Foster’s runner-up finish punched his ticket to Saturday’s State Meet at the Parkview Course in Hershey. There he will be joined by female teammates Alyssa Fedorshak and Mary Campbell, as well as Cocalico’s Evan Kreider.

Fedorshak, a sophomore who placed seventh at the L-Ls two weeks ago, said she was battling among the leaders in the AAA girls’ race for most of the way before securing sixth place overall with a time of 19:37.9.

“My goals were to at least make top 10,” she said following the race. “Last year I made top 12 and I was like, all right…this year is a new year and I want to work my way up the chain.”

“I felt like I knew I had it from the start,” she continued. “As our coach always tells us, you can’t control what the weather conditions are like, you can only control how you react to it. And the whole time I was with the front pack I thought to myself, this is fun. This is fun for me. I was like if you can just stick with them and know where you place your feet, you’ll be happy with your performance. I didn’t think about the pain at all. I just thought about how fun this race was and eventually it turned out to me coming in sixth place.”

Fedorshak finished just behind the Elizabethtown three-some of Madeline Quinn (19:12.4), who was third, Katie Locker (19:20.7), who grabbed fourth and Cat Shontz (19:21.3), who took fifth.

Emily Schuler of Dallastown captured the girls’ title with a time of 19:06.8, while Cedar Crest’s Gwyneth Young (19:11.1) finished as runner-up.

According to Ephrata Coach Mike Hershberger, both Foster and Fedorshak tied for the best finishes ever at the District Meet by Ephrata runners. Zach Lefever was second in the 2015 boys’ race while Betsy Sensenig finished sixth in 2003.

“To have two athletes tie the best finishes for an Ephrata runner in the same year is outstanding,” Hershberger said. “I thought Andrew ran well and put himself in the race. Evan from Manheim Township is a very good runner, and he made a good move on the hill after the second-mile mark. Andrew has a very good finishing kick, but so does Evan.”

“Alyssa was not happy with her league race. She wanted to prove to herself that she could run better than she did the previous week. The course was set up well for her because she is bigger and stronger than most runners, so she could power through the mud. She connected with some of her friends from E-town early in the race and worked with them all race. They alternated who was setting the pace and worked very well together. Alyssa was a first team Lancaster-Lebanon all star as a freshman and sophomore, but she is starting to discover her potential.”

Campbell not only had to fight the conditions but was also under the weather Saturday.

Still, the junior, who was 11th a year ago, fought through and posted a solid 13th-place finish with a time of 19:57.5 to punch her State ticket, despite needing medical treatment at the end.

“I’ve been sick all week,” she said. “(Saturday) was just mostly about making sure I got to States. Like right at the end I passed like three girls racing for the finish. Like I said it was mostly just to get placement into States.”

Hershberger said he was concerned about Campbell actually competing due to her state of health.

“We were very nervous about her running,” he said. “With the help of her mom, she did a great job taking care of herself to get to the starting line. During the race, she lost her breathing rhythm early, but continued to run a solid race. Her goal for the day was to get to States…receiving a district medal was a bonus. It is tough to watch an athlete push themselves physically to the point where Mary did at the District Meet, but it was a very impressive run given her illness.”

As for Cocalico’s Kreider, the senior who took second place a year ago, didn’t get off to a great start Saturday. And with the weather the way it was, he never was able to make up enough ground but he finished 18th overall in AAA with a time of 17:12.9 to win his medal and get a chance to compete again at States.

“To be honest Evan was somewhat disappointed with his place,” Cocalico Coach Ron Derr said. “He has had some great moments this year and some tough ones and after being somewhat under the weather at leagues he really went into (Districts) with a great attitude and a lot of optimism. He really likes the course at Big Spring and has always really run well. He also knew going in that conditions were going to be extremely tough so he was mentally in a very good place. He didn’t get out with the leaders and then found it was virtually impossible to make up ground on the torn up soggy course. So to still come out with a District medal and another opportunity to race is a good thing.”

Derr is hopeful for a solid rebound from his talented senior this coming weekend.

“(Evan) is grateful for the opportunity to win a District medal, but even more grateful for the opportunity to compete one last time for Cocalico at the State Meet this Saturday,” he said.

As for the Ephrata contingent, Foster said he’s aiming for a top-five finish.

“I definitely think that’s a doable goal with my training this year. I think I can pull it off,” he said.

Fedorshak and Campbell are both looking to earn State medals as well.

“Last year was a little rough for me,” Fedorshak said. “I didn’t place that well, and I had shin splints. That was a tough race for me. I was just done. This year my legs are perfectly fine. They are still ready and I feel like I have another race in me to at least make top 40 or even high than that.”

“I’m hoping to have a chance at medaling at States,” Campbell said. “That’s my ultimate goal. I feel like I worked a lot harder this summer to get to where I am. I’m doing more lifting and showing up to more of the summer runs. This year I’ve been just really focusing on running so I feel like this is the best year for my chances to medal at States.”

In addition to Foster and Kreider, several other Ephrata and Cocalico runners competed in Saturday’s boys’ AAA race. The following are their places and times:

  1. Max McCormack, Cocalico, 17:54.9; 102. Jackson Hart, Ephrata, 18:23.9; 146. Ray Truex, Ephrata, 18:48.8; 164. Nathan Kimmel, Ephrata, 18:57.9; 167. Micah Weaver, Ephrata, 18:58.2; 192. Dylan Becker, Cocalico, 19:11.3; 210. Jake Walsh, Cocalico, 19:26.1; 241. Owen Sensenig, Cocalico, 19:53.7; 258. Aaron Hershberger, Cocalico, 20:32.3.

In the girls AAA race, in addition to Fedorshak and Campbell, local finishers included:

  1. Lexi Roe, Ephrata, 21:35.8; 165. Maxine Bodnari, Ephrata, 23:14.5; 196. Elizabeth Martin, Ephrata, 23:52.2; 212. Baileigh Andrews, Ephrata, 24:27.1.

The Cocalico girls competed in the AA race where Elyssa Sherman placed 84th with a time of 23:15.2.

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