CROSS COUNTRY: York Suburban runners aiming high again
Wednesday was getting-to-know-your-course day for the York Suburban boys' and girls' cross country teams.
Most days, the Trojans' training runs take them around neighborhoods in Spring Garden and Springettsbury townships.
However, on Wednesday, the teams didn't stray far from the high school campus on Hollywood Drive.
"We only have one home meet this year, and we have a lot of freshmen (18)," Suburban girls' coach Dan VanHouwe said. "Plus, there have been some minor adjustments in the course. We want to make sure that everyone is familiar with the course."
The Trojans, as usual, have plenty of runners: 28 boys and 20 girls.
Both teams, coming off highly successful seasons, are shooting for the top again in 2015.
The boys put together a remarkable 2014 season, winning their second PIAA Class AA state title in the past six years, along with capturing the District 3-AA crown. The girls, meanwhile, repeated as District 3-AA champions. The boys' and girls' teams both also secured York-Adams Division II team crowns.
The Trojan girls return most of their runners from last year, including Olivia Gettle, who missed the 2014 York-Adams, District 3 and state meets because of a hip injury. Gettle, a senior, won the York-Adams meet as a sophomore and finished second as a freshman.
"Olivia's running a lot stronger this year," VanHouwe said. "Her hip is better. We also have Emma (Leik), and Cecilia Lantz and Zette Pflaum both had terrific district and state meets. I'm excited about this team."
Boys' team: Three standout runners from last year's boys' team, Brady Wilt, Adam Barley and Zach Lofties, graduated, but Trojan boys' coach Ron Herman likes the potential of this year's team.
"We have five of eight back, which is a good nucleus," Herman said. "What I like about this team is the commitment they made over the summer. There were 30-plus kids, boys and girls, running every day."
Donovan Mears, Peter Wagner, Bryce Ohl, Quentin Schorr and Josh Kerr are the returning runners on the boys' team. Herman is counting on Mears and Schorr, both seniors, for leadership.
"Right now, we're trying to bring along the freshmen," said Mears, who excelled last year in just his first season of cross country. "We look to run as a pack every practice and work in the team concept."
The power of the pack is the key to team success.
"We look to pack up, to get five or six guys within 35 to 40 seconds of each other," Herman said.
Changes: The 2015 cross country season will be one of change for Suburban and every other team in the York-Adams League.
The All-League Runs, which have been held at John Rudy Park for 25 years, will take place this year at Gettysburg High School. Also, the District 3 meet will move from Hershey's Parkview Course to Big Spring High School.
"I always liked running at Hershey, but, Big Spring, I'm OK with that," Herman said. "Part of cross country is that you have to be ready for any course."
— Reach Dick VanO'Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org.