The emotions were hard not to notice when Ephrata’s Alyssa Fedorshak crossed the finish line Wednesday.
There were cheers and tears alike as the senior claimed first place, winning her first Lancaster-Lebanon League girls cross country title in a time of a 19 minutes, 29 seconds.
After all, it has been a roller-coaster ride for Fedorshak since — exactly a year ago to the day of her victory — she stepped on a sewing needle that broke off in her foot and ended her junior campaign.
“It feels really good to get to (this) point, to know I believed in myself and that my training had finally paid off,” Fedorshak said. “It didn’t really hit me until I put that medal around my neck, and when I did I started crying because I knew I did it for sure. I knew I have overcome every possible mental obstacle that I can go through.”
The race started with a pack of six, but it began to break around the mile mark and continued to until it was just Fedorshak, Ava Shirk of Manheim Township and Anna Martin of Warwick, who placed second in 19:32.
Martin gave it her all and collapsed at the finish, but Fedorshak’s late burst, with about 800 meters left, was the difference-maker.
“There wasn’t a distinct girl setting the pace,” Fedorshak said. “But I knew exactly where I was going to make my move, and I made it despite being tired. Anna she also gave it her all. She is an amazing runner.”
Alyssa Fedorshak was at her family’s Ephrata Township home one October evening about a year …
Shirk said she was surprised by the finish, but happy with her 19:35 to place third. Cedar Crest’s Gwyneth Young, also part of the early pack, was fourth, clocking 19:49.
Meanwhile, the team portion of the meet was so close between McCaskey and Warwick that the scorers had to review the film of the finish to make sure the outcome was correct.
In the end, Warwick coach Matt Bomberger was left nearly speechless as his Warriors edged McCaskey a point, 62-63, to claim its first title since 2009. Manheim Township finished third with 84 points, while Hempfield, led by freshman Ella Wolfe (seventh, 20:10), was in fourth with 85.
“A one-point match with two teams in the 60s is unheard of,” Bomberger said. “When you medal the entire first five, that is awesome. Our coaching staff went through some records and, we said 90 points would get us to districts. But we also thought this would be really tight, and we were saying every point matters. Honestly, the win is overwhelming, and it’s still settling in.”
The Warriors’ Ella Hartel also ran a great race, placing sixth in 19:59.
McCaskey coach Mike Craighead was proud of his team, which went undefeated in the regular season and won a Section One title for the first time in program history.
“Our girls ran with a lot of heart today,” Craighead said. “I am proud of our kids; they ran out of their minds today. We came close to winning, but hats off to Warwick ... it was a good battle.”
The Tornado had three runners place in the top 10, paced by Arielle Breuninger, who was fifth in 19:54. Isabella Shertzer was eighth in 20:10 and Milana Breuninger finished ninth in 20:15.
L-L LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Ephrata Middle School
1. A. Fedorshak, Eph, 19:29.8; 2. A. Martin, War, 19:32.0; 3. A. Shirk, MT, 19:35.3; 4. G. Young, CC, 19:49.9; 5. A. Breuninger, McC, 19:54.3; 6. W. Hartel, War, 19:59.0; 7. E. Wolfe, Hem, 20:10.1; 8. I. Shertzer, McC, 20:15.7; 9. M. Breuninger, McC, 20:15.7; 10. M. Quinn, E-town, 20:19.4.
11. G. Thiry, McC, 20:22.1; 12. S. Russo, MT, 20:31.5; 13. G. Rudder, War, 20:51.0; 14. A. Ames, PM, 20:57.5; 15. H. Kilheffer, Hem, 20:59.3; 16. S. Freeman, War, 20:59.3; 17. L. Williams, Hem, 21:01.4; 18. M. Siebert, Hem, 21:03.0; 19. S. Kapcsos, E-town, 21:08.8; 20. M. Naqvi, Don, 21:09.9.
21. M. Papadimitrio, MT, 21:12.6; 22. J. Weiss, MT, 21:15.7; 23. L. Soulliard, Sol, 21:17.4; 24. B. Peters, A-C, 21:17.6; 25. A. Wenger, War, 21:27.5; 26. A. Ebersole, MT, 21:27.7; 27. K. Reidenbaugh, Eph, 21:29.1; 28. I. Smith, Hem, 21:35.9; 29. A. Fry, Don, 21:45.5; 30. E/ Ayana, McC, 21:47.0.
1. Warwick, 62; 2. McCaskey, 63; 3. Manheim Township, 84; 4. Hempfield, 85; 5. Cedar Crest, 176; 6. Elizabethtown, 182; 7. Donegal, 210; 8. Conestoga Valley, 233; 9. Ephrata, 245; 10. Lampeter-Strasburg, 276.
11. Solanco, 311; 12. Manheim Central, 316; 13. Annville-Cleona, 317; 14. Penn Manor, 365; 15. Lancaster Catholic, 417; 16. Garden Spot, 433; 17. Northern Lebanon, 448;