HERSHEY — From the expressions of the athletes, it was hard to gauge how Saturday’s PIAA Class 2-A boys' cross country championships went for York Suburban.
For starters, the Trojans did what they tend to do — run a great pack and place four runners in the top 45 overall, separated by only 24 seconds. Suburban also had the top team score of 82 points.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, Lewisburg also had 82 points and were awarded the 2-A boys' state team championship in a tie-breaker at the Hershey Parkview cross country course.
Still, second place in the state is nothing to feel bad about and Suburban coach Ron Herman said that disappointment is a loaded word.
“I try to frame things as not to look at what we didn’t do what we set out to do, but look at what we did do,” the coach said. “You have to look at what you have done. They came a long way, starting in June until now.”
Cole Adams (16 minutes, 42.1 seconds) led the way for the Trojans, placing 14th overall, followed one spot later by teammate Grant Kern (16:44.5). Shea Walsh (16:56.9) took home 29th-place honors.
The best news? All three are only sophomores.
“Coming into the season we weren’t ranked and weren’t expected to do very much and we built a team that came all the way to the championship and almost won it,” Herman said. “And they are all a bunch of young guys. I thought they were maybe a year or two away from being this good. We came back with a really strong team this year."
Overcoming a leg injury, Walsh finished his season strong.
“My team really kept supporting me. Even if I missed practice, they really supported me and pushed me through,” Walsh said. “To be undefeated through regular season, win districts and tie for states is a good accomplishment. I think we are going to do some work to get even faster.”
Herman is optimistic for the future, even though his team finished second in the state for the sixth time in his 32 years at the helm, to go along with two PIAA titles. Of course, losing only Jordan Ohl (41st on Saturday) to graduation, one would figure more big things for the Trojans next season.
“Jordan Ohl was a big leader for us as the only senior. He kept them together,” Herman said. “You can have some great talent, but with no character you really go nowhere. This team has a lot of great talent, but also has great character. I knew they were going to be successful.”
Carroll fifth in 3-A girls' race: In the mass among the big schools of Class 3-A girls' competition, Margaret Carroll may be the exception.
From Northeastern – one of the smallest schools in the class – but also rather diminutive herself, Carroll is anything but small on the course.
On Saturday, one week after bronze at the District 3 championships, Carroll earned a fifth-place medal with her brilliant time of 18:29.
"I had to go out and try to race, get out in good spots. I tried to get out in top 15 and try to work my way up,” she said. “It felt pretty good.”
Perhaps most impressive was the strength Carroll showed at the finish as she sprinted past three others to take home fifth.
Asked if a strong finish was typical, Carroll laughed: “Sometimes it is, sometimes not so much.”
Starliper easily wins 2-A girls' title: While it came as no surprise, Northern York senior Marlee Starliper put on a cross country clinic while winning the girls’ 2-A state title by nearly a full minute in front of Greencastle’s Taryn Parks.
Starliper took 42 seconds off her 2018 gold medal winning time when she ran a 17:11 for her third state championship.
“I knew that from over the summer through the fall that I built up a lot of fitness,” she said. “This week I took it easy, I backed down my mileage, did yoga and stretching, recovery stuff. It really helped me get excited knowing there is nothing that is going to hold me back. My legs were going to feel so good.”
The North Carolina State recruit also had the extra incentive of helping the Polar Bears place second in the 2-A girls’ team competition. Katie Anthony added a 17th-place finish for Northern.
“I am so thankful. I’ve been waiting for a race like this the whole season,” said Starliper. “This was so special, I was also running for my team. Coming away with second place as a team, it’s such a special day and I couldn’t ask for a better day to end my senior year running with a Northern jersey.”
Other medal winners: Medals were won by the Dallastown tandem of sophomore Lydia Tolerico, who was 22nd in 19:16, and senior Emily Schuler, whose 19:16 was good for 23rd in girls’ 3-A race.
Three other York-Adams girls placed in the top 50 in 3-A. Dover sisters Summer and Emily Hogan finished 33rd and 50th respectively. Gwendolyn Lloyd of Red Lion placed 35th.
Kennard-Dale’s Collin Wolf was 26th in the boys' 2-A race. Also for K-D, Dan Gibney and Garrett Quinan finished 38th and 43rd, respectively. Fellow Ram Delaney Barts earned 39th place in the 2-A girls' event.
Susquehannock's Matthew O'Brien, a freshman, finished 36th in the boys' 2-A run.
Gettysburg senior Andrew Hirneisen was 42nd in 3-A boys.
Reach Steve Navaroli at email@example.com.