EAST MANCHESTER -- Dallastown senior Patrick Reilly and York Suburban sophomore Olivia Gettle faced similar scenarios at Tuesday afternoon's York-Adams League Cross Country Championships at John Rudy County Park.
Both felt the pressure of high expectations. They were expected to win their races -- Reilly on the boys' side and Gettle on the girls' side. A year ago in the same races, Reilly took first place while Gettle finished second behind now graduated Central York runner Kelsey Ibarra.
Reilly and Gettle each ran just about the same race on Tuesday, too, pulling away from the second-place finisher about halfway through the 3.1-mile course and never looking back.
Reilly took first in the boys' race in 15 minutes, 52.87 seconds, 16 seconds ahead of New Oxford junior Aaron Gebhart. Reilly knocked off 27 seconds from his first-place finish in last year's league meet. He was four seconds shy of the course record of 15:48.26, set by Kennard Dale's Jonathan Grey in 2005 and challenged by Dallastown's Chuck Lockwood in 2009 (15:48.94).
"Last year when I won it was kind of a surprise. I definitely wanted to repeat that feeling this year," Reilly said. "Last year there were probably five guys who were expected to contend for the win. This year there were two, so there's definitely a lot more pressure this year."
Gettle crossed the finish line in 19:25, 18 seconds ahead of Kennard-Dale junior Kayla White. She improved on her time last year of 19:42.
"I just put my trust in God," Gettle said. "What He does, that's what happens. I'm very thankful for that. I'm very thankful for my teammates for pushing me."
Gettle isn't kidding about being pushed by her teammates. She's been training with some of the top Suburban boys' runners this season, according to Trojans' coach Dan Vanhouwe. Plus, Gettle was familiar with the course. Suburban typically practices at John Rudy on Saturdays throughout the fall season. But the difference in Gettle's performance from last year to this year is her willpower, Vanhouwe said.
"I think she wants to be more determined," Vanhouwe said. "Last year at the district race she finished third after falling twice and being dehydrated. The state meet she was afraid to run. This year she was determined to say 'I'm better than that.' She's out to prove she's ready to go."
As for Reilly, he points to his offseason training for helping him improve this year.
"This summer I worked really hard. I upped my mileage. I really did the little things this year to improve as a runner," he said.
Up next for both Reilly and Gettle is to improve on their performances in the district races, which will be held at the Parkview Course in Hershey on Wednesday, Oct. 23. Last year Reilly took second in the District 3-AAA boys' race, while Gettle finished third in the District 3-AA girls' race. They'll be favorites to contend for top spots next week.
"So this year it's a little more competitive up at the front," Reilly said. "I'm looking to contend for the win, but definitely top three."
-- Reach John Walk at email@example.com.
CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
At John Rudy Park
Top 20 finishers
1. Reilly (Dt), 15:52; 2. Gebhart (NO), 16:08; 3. Groff (CY), 16:29; 4. Wilt (Big), 16:33; 5. Thomas (S), 16:50, 6. Linne (Ne), 16:52; 7. Gardner (SG), 16:56; 8. Schott (SW), 16:58; 9. Clark (YS), 16:59; 10. A. Miller (RL), 17:00; 11. H. Miller (SG), SG), 17:03; 12. Pagan (D), 17:04; 13. Stayer (Dt), 17:06; 14. Lloyd (D), 17:12; 15. Mears (YS), 17:14; 16. Gatchell (RL), 17:16; 17. Peeling (SW), 17:17; 18. Lentz (Dt), 17:18; 19. Dutton (RL), 17:19; 20. Erickson (RL), 17:20.
1. Gettle (YS), 19:24; 2. White (KD), 19:42; 3. Banchiere (S), 19:43; 4. Leik (YS), 19:54; 5. Mowrey (DC), 20:14; 6. Clinton (NO), 20:20; 7. Harrelson (YT), 20:22; 8. Fourham (S), 20:24; 9. Crane (BS), 20:26; 10. Weaver (WY), 20:30; 11. Shrader (YS), 20:35; 12. Cardone (YS), 20:40; 13. Bateman (NO), 20:41; 14. Blum (Dt), 20:43; 15. Loeffholz (CY), 20:44; 16. Hall (YS), 20:46; 17. Beierschmitt (D), 20:49; 18. Cardone (YS), 21:01; 19. DiBiase (Dt), 21:04; 20. Pfefferkorn (CY), 21:09.