CODORUS – The Eastern York girls' cross country team may have the most talented top three runners of any squad in the York-Adams League.
With Maddie McLain leading the way, the Knights are a threat to take down any opponent.
Well, any foe that isn't York Suburban.
With both the Trojans and the Golden Knights competing in a five-school meet at Codorus State Park Tuesday afternoon, the stage was set between a top-heavy Eastern squad and a well-balanced, and deep, Suburban outfit.
While McLain led the way with another record-setting performance, the Trojans were able to pack in a bevy of runners between Eastern's No. 3 and 4 runners. As a result Suburban was able to claim a 28-31 triumph over the Knights en route to a 4-0 afternoon, that included a 21-34 victory over Central York.
The Suburban boys had no such challenges. They swept the top four individual spots, with Peter Wagner finishing first en route to a 4-0 team performance.
"Eastern has three (top-notch) girls," Suburban coach Dan Vanhouwe said. "So we knew that, up front, Eastern was going to be tough, but we knew that we could take them if we packed it up like we normally do."
The Knights' only hope for pulling the upset was to claim the first three spots in the meet against the Trojans. They nearly did, taking three of the first four, including a time of 19 minutes, 40 seconds by McLain, who bested York Catholic grad Kady Schrann's previous course record.
"My goal was to just give it my all and run until I couldn't feel my legs," said McLain, who is just a sophomore. "And I did that, for the most part, which I'm very happy with."
Suburban standout Olivia Gettle, who fell down one of the hills on the course before quickly recovering, foiled Eastern's upset plan by finishing second, a minute behind McLain.
"We just wish we had a four and a five," Eastern coach Joel Jacobs said. "That's our weakness there. If we had a (competitive) four and five we probably win the meet and have a team that is state-caliber."
Madison Nalls finished fourth overall in the meet for Eastern, while Maddie's sister, Olivia, finished fifth overall. Eastern's No. 4 runner, however, finished 38th overall, well behind the first seven Suburban runners.
While the Knights couldn't pull off the upset they so desired, it was nevertheless a satisfying day for the team, which defeated Central, Northeastern and Delone Catholic.
"Yeah, if we had a (standout) fourth girl that would be really nice," Maddie McLain said. "But we still have six or seven solid girls. We've been pushing them at practice, telling them 'C'mon you can do this.' One of our goals is to get all of our girls to make it to districts."
Such won't be a worry for another deep Suburban squad that claimed 15 of the top 30 spots in the 61-girl field. Zette Pflaum took sixth overall, Cecilia Lantz was eighth, Brooke Ruth was 11th and Lena Strong was 16th.
The Central girls challenged the Trojans but came up short. Bridget Palm led the Panthers with a seventh-place finish. Northeastern was led by Micaela Bradley's ninth-place showing, while Leanne Sneeringer was Delone's top finisher in third overall.
Suburban boys' cruise: Wagner, Donovan Mears, Bryce Ohl and Jarrett Raudensky made it a top-four sweep for the Suburban boys, the defending PIAA Class AA state champions.
The Trojans easily bested Delone, Eastern, Central and Northeastern.
The Panthers finished 3-1 on the day with victories over Northeastern, Eastern and Delone.
OTHER BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY
Maldonado leads Rockets: At Spring Grove, Jordan Maldonado's first-place finish of 18:02 helped the Rockets to a first-place team finish. Dover and West York each tied for second, with each defeating Fairfield and tying each other (28-28).
Jacobson paces Wildcats: At New Oxford, Patrick Jacobson's first-place finish of 17:09 helped the Dallastown Wildcats to a first-place team finish. Susquehannock took second by defeating York Tech, New Oxford and Bermudian Springs. New Oxford came in third and the Eagles came in fourth.
Mustangs take first in team competition: At Hanover, the South Western Mustangs defeated Gettysburg, York Catholic and Kennard-Dale to take first. Gettysburg's Daniel Filler led the Warriors to a second- place finish by taking first individually in 17:41. The Rams took third by defeating York Catholic.
Lions lead way at Littlestown: At Littlestown, the Red Lion took first in the team competition by picking up victories over Littlestown and Biglerville. The Thunderbolts took second by defeating Biglerville. The Canners' Daniel Wood took first overall in 17:53.
OTHER GIRLS' CROSS COUNTRY
Dover takes first at Spring Grove: At Spring Grove, the Dover Eagles defeated West York, Fairfield and Spring Grove to take first. The Bulldogs took second, Fairfield came in third and Spring Grove was fourth. Bethany Weaver took first individually in 21:30 for West York.
Brown sends Wildcats to victories: At New Oxford, Haley Brown's first-place finish of 20:55 helped the Dallastown Wildcats to a first-place team finish. Susquehannock took second by defeating New Oxford, York Tech and Bermudian Springs. New Oxford came in third and the Eagles took fourth.
Mustangs excel in Hanover: At Hanover, the host South Western Mustangs defeated Gettysburg, York Catholic and Kennard-Dale for the first-place finish. The Rams took second by picking up victories over York Catholic and Gettysburg. Maddie Ferner led the Rams individually by taking first in 20:12. York Catholic took third by defeating Gettysburg.
Schluderberg paces Lions: At Littlestown, Tristan Schluderberg's first-place overall time of 21:34 led the Red Lion Lions to team victories over Littlestown and Biglerville. Littlestown took second.
— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.