EMIGSVILLE -- Just two weeks before, Dallastown High School junior Patrick Reilly had won a cross country meet at Spring Grove, beating South Western senior Ryan Hertzog by seven seconds.
Still, Reilly considered himself the underdog entering the York-Adams League Boys' Cross Country Championships at John Rudy Park on Tuesday afternoon.
Reilly had a good argument, though, for his underdog status. Last year, Reilly placed sixth in the league meet while Hertzog nabbed second. The Mustang later went on to get a runner-up finish at the District 3-AAA meet.
"I knew I beat him (at Spring Grove) but he has a great resume so I couldn't take anything for granted," Reilly said.
Tuesday's race ended up being much closer
Central York senior Kelsey Ibarra won the girls' race in 19 minutes, 4.84 seconds.
New Oxford sophomore Aaron Gebhart led for the first third of the boys' race while Hertzog and Reilly hung back with a pack that included Red Lion senior Caleb Gatchell and Littlestown senior Xavier Sauvageau. Hertzog and Reilly eventually took control of the race mid-way through and stayed neck-and-neck the rest of the way.
On the final hill of the race, Hertzog passed Reilly and appeared to have the advantage. But Reilly quickly caught up to Hertzog when the runners sprinted downhill on grass and trekked across a cement trail before hitting the final downhill stretch on grass. Reilly took the lead for good on the cement trail, in part because Hertzog said the pain from a blister on his left foot got to him.
"I couldn't take it hard there because I got a blister in the middle of the race," Hertzog said. "I think it was because most of the race was on macadam and I'm not used to running races with a lot of macadam."
Reilly crossed first with a time of 16:19.19 with Hertzog close behind in a time of 16:20.24.
Gebhart (16:24) was third, followed by Gatchell (16:29) and Sauvageau (16:35).
Girls' race: Running on her home course, Ibarra created a wide gap from the rest of the pack in the first minute of the race and didn't look back.
York Suburban freshman Olivia Gettle took second place with a time of 19:42, nearly 38 seconds after Ibarra. She was followed by Kennard-Dale sophomore Kayla White (19:46), Suburban freshman Emma Leik (19:56) and Delone Catholic freshman Kate Mowery (19:57).
Ibarra picked up where she left off two years ago, when she won the league championship before sitting out her junior season because of medical reasons. She said a part of her motivation Tuesday stemmed from last year when she watched the league championship, which New Oxford senior Kaylee Kubisiak won with a time of 19:04.38, more than 30 seconds in front of Suburban senior Lily Corsaro.
"That was gonna be my last year running against them (Kubisiak and Corsaro) so it was kind of sad I didn't get to race against them again," Ibarra said. "So, I just figured next year I'd come back and accomplish the goals I wanted to."
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.