Harriers Struggle at NTL Meet
After watching the uneven performance of his squads on a sunny, chilly morning at Northeast Bradford High School on Saturday, Oct. 13, Schools isn’t sure if it’s a blessing or a curse that the gap between the league meet and districts was increased from five days to 12 days.
“It certainly wasn’t an allstar day for us,” Schools said after both squads struggled to seventh-place finishes in the team standings.
Individually, he was heartened by some of the performances.
“I was looking at the times from last year and for the most part, everybody improved from last year to this year. That’s always a good sign.
“For some of them, it’s good they are going to get a chance to heal,” Schools said of the long layoff before the district meet.
“For some of the others, we are going to have to keep them from going stir-crazy.”
In the boys’ race, the Rams, who were without the services of an injured Aaron Woodruff, finished with 140 points, well behind Northeast Bradford’s winning total of 44 points. Towanda was second with 71 points, followed by Canton (82), Wellsboro (112), Sayre (115), Troy (134), Wyalusing, Athens (170) and Cowanesque Valley (239).
Northeast Bradford’s Curt Jewett was the overall race winner with a time of 15:32, followed by Towanda’s Aaron Valoroso in 15:38.
Zamien Benditt-Parkes was Wyalusing’s first finisher, crossing the line in 17th with a time of 17:16.
Other Wyalusing results, with places and times in parenthesis, were Brenten Gerould (25, 17:40), Matt Woodruff (29, 18:07), Jordan Schools (34, 18:20), Mark Kusmierz (35, 18:29), Mitchell Schools (38, 18:41), Cody Auer (44, 18:54) and Tracey Brown (70, 20:09).
With Woodruff battling injury late in the season, Benditt Parkes has stepped up to be Wyalusing’s top finisher in recent races.
He wasn’t completely satisfied with his outing in the final prep for the all-important district meet.
“I probably could have got up there (in the standings),” Benditt-Parkes said.
A first-year cross-country participant, Benditt-Parkes has impressed his coach this season.
“He’s slowly grasping the strategies of racing,” Schools said. “He’s come a long way since the start of the season.
“He has a lot of potential.”
The real surprise for Wyalusing came in the girls’ race where pre-race favorite Erika Huffman was stricken with a hamstring cramp while leading near the mid-point of the race.
“I got a ‘charley-horse,” a disappointed Huffman said later.
Huffman worked out the kink in her leg enough to soldier home in 28th place, two spots behind her teammate Savannah Schools.
Schools finished with a time of 22:20, while Huffman clocked in at 22:30.
“Erika got back up and finished the race,” Jim Schools said. “That took a lot of guts.
“By the time she finished the race, she was pretty perturbed. It went from disappointment to anger by the end.”
Other Wyalusing results included Arielle Kneller (45, 24:07), Sarah LaFrance (58, 25:07) and Emily Edwards (60, 25:39).
Mackenzie Martin, who hadn’t run since an injury during the Lasagna Invitational at Wyalusing in early September, tried to race with a knee-brace, but pulled out of the finish.
Troy’s Casey Norton won the race for the second straight year with a time of 18:53, followed by Northeast Bradford’s Lydia Werner with a time of 19:16.
In a bit of an upset, Wellsboro won the team title with 56 points.
Towanda, the regular-season champion, was second with 64 points, followed by Sayre (71), Athens (98), Northeast Bradford (115), Mansfield (116) and Wyalusing (175).
In the girls’ junior high race, Wyalusing’s Megan McClelland finished 25th with a time of 12:14. Hannah Corson was 28th in 12:23. Julia Edwards finished 32nd in 12:47.
Northeast Bradford placed five runners in the top six of the junior high boys’ race to easily win the team title with 15 points. Wellsboro was second with 59 points, followed by Troy (75), Canton (100) and Athens (117).
In the boys’ junior high race, Wyalusing’s Joe Stretch finished 31st in 11:10. Luke Auer was 47th with a time of 13:44.