HERSHEY -- Patrick Reilly surprised himself on Wednesday afternoon.
The Dallastown junior raced to a second-place finish in the Class AAA boys' division at the District 3 Cross Country Championships.
"This is awesome," Reilly said. "Coming into this season, I never would have expected to finish second. It's a great day."
Actually, it's been a great season for Reilly.
Following a dominating regular season, he won the York-Adams League Meet after finishing sixth as a sophomore.
Reilly followed that with the runner-up finish at districts just one year after placing 44th in the same event. He shaved his time in the 3.1-mile event over the demanding Parkview course from 17 minutes, 24 seconds in 2011 to 16:43 this year.
"I trained a lot over the summer, and I was more consistent with my mileage this year," he said. "The first mile today, I wanted to be around 15th place and then try to work my way up in the final two miles because I'm a better runner on hills."
Reilly made a surge around the two-mile mark and moved into second place at the beginning of the third, and final, mile. He finished eight seconds behind Cumberland Valley senior Alec Kunzweiler.
"I definitely surprised myself today and gave myself confidence for next Saturday at states," he said.
The state meet will also take place on the Parkview course.
"It helps you with race strategy having run here before," Reilly said. "If you have a good race at districts, you can build on that at states. If you don't, you can revise your strategy for states."
Reilly, Ryan Hertzog of South Western (fourth), Aaron Gebhart of New Oxford (14th) and Caleb Gatchell of Red Lion (19th) earned medals in Class AAA.
In Class AA, Xavier Sauvageau of Littlestown (fourth), Chris Diaz of York Suburban (eighth), Ben Linne of Northeastern (10th) and Brad Clark of York Suburban (18th) gained medals.
In Class A, Brady Wilt of Biglerville won the gold medal, and Nick Poole of Delone Catholic was second. John Roan and Devin Barlow of Fairfield, took fifth and sixth, respectively, and Tucker Ebersole of York Catholic was 10th.
Diaz, Clark and the other members of the Suburban boys' team also qualified for states.
"With five seniors in the top 10, we said, this has to be our year," Diaz said. "From late June to the middle of August, we worked knowing that (qualifying for states) was our goal."
Clark wasn't expecting a medal at districts.
"I was hoping to finish in the top 30 (the first 20 finishers earn medals)," he said. "Coach (Ron Herman) said I was 21st with a quarter-mile to go, and I ended up finishing 18th."
Clark, a junior, is looking forward to competing with his teammates at states.
"It's really nice having a chance to run together one more time," he said.
-- Reach Dick VanO linda at dvanolin email@example.com.