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York Suburban cross country teams aim at continuing their District 3 dynasties

DICK VanO'LINDA
YorkDispatch


A pack of runners took off from Fayfield Park Wednesday on a dreary afternoon.

The guys and the girls from the York Suburban cross country teams were beginning a 45-minute run, which would end back at the park in East York.

The Trojans weren't concerned with individual times. This was a training run, part of the preparation for the big races on Saturday — the District 3 championships at Big Spring High School.

Both Suburban teams will seek their third straight Class AA crowns.

They earned their previous titles at Hershey's Parkview course. The district meet will take place at Big Spring, in Newville, for the first time this year.

"In my head, I keep thinking Hershey," Trojans' senior Olivia Gettle said. "I'll have to switch it to Big Spring. We raced there earlier this season (at the Big Spring Invitational). These girls (Gettle's teammates) have a lot of potential, and I'm excited to see what they can do."

The girls on this year's team extended a remarkable streak that dates back to when most of them were toddlers.

Suburban captured its 15th straight York-Adams division championship while recording its eighth consecutive unbeaten season. The Trojans' overall record over the past decade and a half is 233-2.

"It's amazing to be part of such a strong program," Gettle said. "We race well together, but it's deeper than that. We're a family. We spend all summer training together (four to five days a week)."

Gettle has been part of the program for four seasons. She won the York-Adams All-League Run as a sophomore and placed second as a freshman. Injuries (hip flexor and growth plate) kept her from competing last year in the season-ending championship races. This year, she was diagnosed with pneumonia, but still ran in the York-Adams All-League Run, placing sixth.

"I feel much better," she said. "Luckily, I didn't share that pneumonia with my teammates. We're all really excited for districts."

Gettle, Cecilia Lantz, Zezette Pflaum, Lindsey Flemmens and Aileen Strong were the first five Trojan girls to cross the line at the York Adams All-League Run.

Suburban boys: Meanwhile, the Suburban boys placed five runners — Donovan Mears, Jarrett Raudensky, Bryce Ohl, Peter Wagner and Joshua Kerr — among the first 20 finishers in the York-Adams All-League Run.

The power of the pack has enabled the Suburban boys' program rack up 220 victories while sustaining just 15 losses in the past 15 season. Suburban has won 10 division championships and distinguished itself by winning two state AA titles (2009 and last year).

"We're 45 seconds to a minute between our one through five guys," Trojans' head coach Ron Herman said. "We also have a six and a seven (runner) who can both step into the top five. That makes us tough going into the big meets."

Suburban returned seven of the 10 runners from last year's state title team.

"Plus Raudensky is a freshman," Herman said. "The three starters we lost are all running in college."

The Trojans have put together a terrific season so far. Along with winning their division, they captured team titles in the Big Spring Invitational and the PIAA Foundation Race at Hershey's Parkview Course. The state meet will be run over the Parkview Course.

"We have two challenging courses ahead of us," Herman said. "Hershey's probably one of the toughest courses in the U.S. for high school kids. You have three gigantic hills in the middle and one big one at the end that you have to prepare for. We do better when there's ups and downs because that's how we train."

Neither Suburban team has experienced very many downs in the last 15 years.

— Reach Dick VanO'Linda at sports@yorkdispatch.com.