L-L Cross Country Championships

Cedar Crest’s Gwyneth Young, wins the girls race during the Lancaster-Lebanon League Cross Country Championships at Ephrata Middle school Tuesday October 15, 2019.

The Lancaster-Lebanon League boys and girls cross country season officially gets underway Thursday. It's the first of five league dates over four weeks, the others being Sept. 28, Oct. 1, Oct. 6 and Oct. 13. Meets will also look a bit different this year, which was previously written about here.

Below are the team-by-team preview capsules for L-L girls programs, listed by section, alphabetically. Twenty-five of the top 30 finishers at last year's league championship meet are returning this fall. There are also three new head coaches. And Pequea Valley is bringing back its cross country program for the first time in 30 years. Though, as a new program, the Braves are on a two-year probationary period with the L-L until its league schedule will actually count towards their win-loss records.

SECTION ONE:

Cedar Crest

Coach: Brandon Risser (16th season)

Last year’s record: 9-1 league (L-L Section One runner-up, L-L meet runner-up, placed 10th at District 3-3A meet)

Key returners: senior Gwyneth Young (L-L meet champion, placed second at District 3-3A meet, placed seventh at PIAA 3A meet), sophomore Jilian Tobias (placed 16th at L-L meet, placed 60th at District 3-3A meet), junior Elizabeth Vila (placed 28th at L-L meet, placed 94th at District 3-3A meet), junior Alyssa Stiver (placed 63rd at L-L meet, placed 144th at District 3-3A meet), senior Avery Atkins (placed 97th at L-L meet, placed 209th at District 3-3A meet), senior Brenna Chernich 1(placed 101st at L-L meet)

Key newcomers: sophomore Sarah Durning, freshman Maddie Lowe

Coach’s thoughts: “This is one of the best girls’ teams that I have coached in my 16 years. We have great leadership on this team and we have a group of committed girls who are determined to keep working hard so they can make the most out of this season. As long as they get the opportunity to race this fall, they have the potential for a great season.”

Conestoga Valley

Coach: Mark Amway (eighth season)

Last year’s record: 4-6 league (placed ninth at L-L meet, placed 23rd at District 3-3A meet)

Key returners: junior Kylynn Frankford (placed 26th at L-L meet), senior Kate Kmieczak (placed 41st at L-L meet, placed 138th at District 3-3A meet), junior Brittney Johns (placed 46th at L-L meet, placed 141st at District 3-3A meet), junior Kayla Mongiovi (placed 49th at L-L meet, placed 98th at District 3-3A meet), senior Emily Castronova (placed 69th at L-L meet, placed 175th at District 3-3A meet), junior Annika Bredeman (placed 83rd at L-L meet, placed 174th at District 3-3A meet), sophomore Sydney Harris (placed 84th at L-L meet), junior Sage Haldeman (placed 114th at L-L meet)

Key newcomers: Freshman Seana Dougherty

Coach’s thoughts: “The girls will be led by Kylynn Frankford , Annika Bredeman, Kate Kmieczak, Brittney Johns and Emily Castronova.  Freshmen Seana Dougherty will break into the top-five as well. The team has worked very hard this fall and it should show up in the results as the season progresses.”

Elizabethtown

Coach: Mark Gallagher (eighth season)

Last year’s record: 8-2 league (placed third at L-L meet, placed 12th at District 3-3A meet)

Key returners: senior Madeline Quinn (High Point University commit, placed fifth at L-L meet, placed 19th at District 3-3A meet, placed 85th at PIAA 3A meet), junior Sierra Kapcsos (placed sixth at L-L meet, placed 49th at District 3-3A meet), junior Kate Hook (placed 77th at L-L meet, placed 162 at District 3-3A meet), junior Hannah Kline (placed 102nd at L-L meet, placed 220th at District 3-3A meet), senior Maggie Mink (placed 105th at L-L meet), junior Emily Bonsall (placed 108th at L-L meet, placed 198th at District 3-3A meet)

Key newcomers: sophomore Jordan Dirisio

Coach’s thoughts: “We lost three-time league runner-up and one-time champion Katie Locker to graduation. She will be running for Monmouth University this fall. Impossible to replace her!   With returning Nos. 5 and 6 runners in the L-L championship race (Maddie Quinn and Sierra Kopcsos), we have strong, experienced leadership.  Look for sophomore Jordan Dirisio to make an impact this year. ...All runners have done a terrific job taking the coronavirus outbreak seriously with mask-wearing when they are not actively running or exercising and social distancing. We appreciate every day that we are able to practice and look forward to every opportunity we will have to compete.”

Ephrata

Coach: Mickey Molchany (first season)

Last year’s record: 7-3 league (placed fourth at L-L meet, placed 20th at District 3-3A meet)

Key returners: senior Alyssa Fedorshak (placed 13th at L-L meet), junior Lexi Roe (placed 19th at L-L meet, placed 77th at District 3-3A meet), sophomore Madison Kimmel (placed 31st at L-L meet, placed 84th at District 3-3A meet), junior Sarah Heberlig (placed 67th at L-L meet, placed 123rd at District 3-3A meet)

Key newcomers: freshman Kayla Reidenbaugh, freshman Hannah Schwartz, freshman Sara Brass

Coach’s thoughts: “We have a small group of girls to work with this year, but these girls have been dedicated in the off-season, and have been working very well together. If we can continue to improve and stay healthy, we should be competitive each meet.”

Hempfield

Coach: Curt Rogers (third season)

Last year’s record: 10-0 league (L-L Section One champion, L-L League meet champion, placed 15th at District 3-3A meet)

Key returners: senior Lily Williams (placed 10th at L-L meet, placed 68th at District 3-3A meet), junior Paige Harrington (placed 18th at L-L meet, placed 87th at District 3-3A meet), junior Delaney Minder (placed 20th at L-L meet, placed 128th at District 3-3A meet), senior Gabriella Hollinger (placed 21st at L-L meet, placed 83rd at District 3-3A meet), senior Isabel Smith (placed 22nd at L-L meet, placed 104th at District 3-3A meet), senior Grace Stringer (placed 37th at L-L meet)

Key newcomers: Freshman Ella Wolfe, freshman Molly Siebert, Freshman Hannah Kilheffer

Coach’s thoughts: “As with the boys' team, the core of our girls' 2019 team is back this season. With the addition of some freshmen and upper class girls stepping up, the Hempfield girls are aiming for Section One champs, league meet champs, District Three medalists, and a team trip to the state meet. This team is a tight-knit group with runners who enjoy being together and carrying on the traditions of the program.”

Lebanon

Coach: Thomas Pearson (sixth season)

Last year’s record: 0-10 league

Coach’s thoughts: “The goal is to field a full girls team to compete at the League meet.”

Manheim Township

Coach: Kevin Stover (third season)

Last year’s record: 6-4 league (placed fifth at L-L meet, placed 17th at District 3-3A meet)

Key returners: senior Chloe Kline (placed 14th at L-L meet, placed 69th at District 3-3A meet), junior Sarah Russo (placed 25th at L-L meet, placed 107th at District 3-3A meet), junior Avery Ebersole (placed 27th at L-L meet, placed 97th at District 3-3A meet), junior Jenny Weiss (placed 36th at L-L meet, placed 103rd at District 3-3A meet), junior Cecilia Walker (placed 58th at L-L meet, placed 111th at District 3-3A meet), sophomore Nora White (placed 66th at L-L meet, placed 157th at District 3-3A meet), senior Arelia Huss

Key newcomers: freshman Ava Shirk, freshman Marina Papadimitro, freshman Sabrina Hess

Coach’s thoughts: “Compared to all the limitations, we were able to separate and social-distance during the summer following the guidelines and I was really happy with training this summer. This being my third year of summer training at Manheim Township, this was our best summer of summer training. We stepped it up a little bit. They’re thriving at it. I think we could be a little bit of a sleeper team. We would like to compete near the top.”

McCaskey

Coach: Mike Craighead (sixth consecutive season as McCaskey head coach, previously coached at Conestoga Valley for 14 seasons)

Last year’s record: 5-5 league (placed seventh at L-L meet, placed 14th at District 3-3A meet)

Key returners: senior Arielle Breuninger (placed third at L-L meet, placed 14th at District 3-3A meet, placed 32nd at PIAA 3A meet), sophomore Milana Breuninger (placed 11th at L-L meet, placed 45th at District 3-3A meet), junior Elili Ayana (placed 44th at L-L meet, placed 226th at District 3-3A meet), junior CorinneF Desyon (placed 48th at L-L meet, placed 113th at District 3-3A meet), junior Naomi Main (placed 59th at L-L meet, placed 114th at District 3-3A meet), sophomore Xyla Carlson (placed 79th at L-L meet, placed 202nd at District 3-3A meet), senior Yolaine Cabrol (placed 82nd at L-L meet, placed 159th at District 3-3A meet), sophomore Tessa Locke (placed 91st at L-L meet)

Key newcomers: freshman Gabby Thiry, freshman Isabella Shertzer

Coach’s thoughts: “Arielle is the leader of the team. Milana was all-league last year. I think the freshmen coming in are going to give us the bump we need to be competitive with other teams. And we have strong front-running.”

Penn Manor

Coach: Tom Ecker (12th season)

Last year’s record: 1-9 league (placed 30th at District 3-3A meet)

Key returners: sophomore Abby Ames (placed 33rd at L-L meet, placed 105th at District 3-3A meet), senior Becky Kramer (placed 60th at L-L meet, placed 161st at District 3-3A meet), senior Arden Morgan (placed 76th at L-L meet, placed 173rd at District 3-3A meet), sophomore Grace Richey (placed 118th at L-L meet, placed 228th at District 3-3A), senior Lauren Zink

Coach’s thoughts?: “Team strength has been enhanced by the addition of several freshmen.  We are looking forward to the impact this additional depth will have on our team performance.”

Solanco

Coach: Kyle Nardella (first season)

Last year’s record: 2-8 league (placed 26th at District 3-3A meet)

Key returners: sophomore Daria Neaves (placed 43rd at L-L meet, placed 78th at District 3-3A meet), sophomore Emma Baxter (placed 53rd at L-L meet, placed 121st at District 3-3A meet), junior Nicole Dodson (placed 68th at L-L meet, placed 147th at District 3-3A meet), junior Halle Brown (placed 87th at L-L meet, placed 206th at District 3-3A meet), sophomore Stella Woy (placed 126th at L-L meet, placed 232nd at District 3-3A meet), senior Elaina Kreider (placed 223rd at District 3-3A meet)

Key newcomers: freshman Christine Wagner, freshman Lilly Soulliard, freshman Olivia Singleton

Coach’s thoughts: “The girls team is developing a very strong pack up front. However, we are missing some key pieces to have a strong top-five, and we are battling some off-season injuries.  Just like the boys, the girls have a positive attitude, and are adjusting well. If all goes well, there could be some surprises from some of the underclassmen, and we are hoping for a solid postseason run with some individuals.”

Warwick

Coach: Matt Bomberger (third season)

Last year’s record: 3-7 league (placed 10th at L-L meet, placed 24th at District 3-3A meet)

Key returners: senior Anna Martin (placed fourth at L-L meet, placed 10th at District 3-3A meet, placed 16th at PIAA 3A meet), junior Sophie Brandwene (placed 62nd at L-L meet, placed 197th at District 3-3A meet), senior Rachel Bonner (placed 64th at L-L meet, placed 154th at District 3-3A meet), junior Alexa Wenger (placed 65th at L-L meet), junior Alexa Ovalle (placed 72nd at L-L meet, placed 139th at District 3-3A meet), junior Kendall Eby (placed 81st at L-L meet, placed 180th at District 3-3A meet), junior Emily Beale (placed 94th at L-L meet, placed 212th at District 3-3A meet)

Key newcomers: freshman Ella Hartel, freshman Sidoney Freeman, freshman Alissa Kreider, freshmen Katie Becker, sophomore Grace Rudder, junior Abigail Gehman

Coach’s thoughts: “Despite the setback from COVID-19 in early March, the girls team has worked harder than ever through the spring and summer. Led by their captains, the team's work ethic and unity has been at the highest level the coaches have seen for quite some time. The girls are excited to compete well in the L-L and beyond. They are grateful for the chance to have a fall season and have been making the best of every situation they are in!”


SECTION TWO:

Annville-Cleona

Coach: Caitlin Heller (second season)

Last year’s record: 9-2 league (L-L Section Two runner-up)

Key returners: junior Braeten Peters (placed 51st at L-L meet, placed second at District 3-2A meet), sophomore Cassi Clemson (placed 55th at L-L meet, placed fifth at District 3-2A meet), sophomore Nory Mitchell (placed 88th at L-L meet, placed 31st at District 3-2A meet), junior Emily Dietz (placed 95th at L-L meet, placed 21st at District 3-2A meet), junior Megan Tobias (placed 110th at L-L meet, placed 39th at District 3-2A meet), junior Jem Fisher (placed 115th at L-L meet, placed 54th at District 3-2A meet), sophomore Emma Rexrode (placed 127th at L-L meet)

Key newcomers: freshman Emily Maag, junior Emily Manwiller

Coach’s thoughts: “The girls team is looking to continue to work on their successes from last season. With no seniors on the team, these girls put in the work this summer and have their eyes on some big goals. Junior Braetan Peters and Sophomore Cassi Clemson are great role models who help influence the positive attitudes of the rest of the girls. All the girls have both their individual and team goals set and are looking forward to the opportunity to compete this fall!”

Cocalico

Coach: Ron Derr (30th season)

Last year’s record: 1-8 league

Key returners: sophomore Hana Schneider (placed 57th at L-L meet, placed 40th at District 3-2A meet)

Key newcomers: freshman Paige Reeser, sophomore Anna Nolt

Coach’s thoughts: “As with the boys, we have very low numbers. We currently are carrying five. So, again, staying healthy and being able to compete as a team is priority No. 1. This is a very young but enthusiastic group. So the goals this year will be completely based on individual progression through the season and hopefully we can establish much more of a team concept in future years.”

Columbia

Coach: Charles Leader (12th season)

Last year’s record: 0-8 league

Key returners: sophomore Emily Gambler (placed 85th at L-L meet, placed 32nd at District 3-A meet), senior Cassidy Cook (placed 93rd at L-L meet, placed 51st at District 3-A meet), sophomore Mallory Conroy (placed 119th at L-L meet, placed 44th at District 3-A meet)

Coach’s thoughts: “The girls all qualified for districts last season and we are hoping they can do well in the postseason races again this year.”

Donegal

Coach: Philip Koser (First year back, 17th year overall of coaching high school or junior high cross country at Donegal)

Last year’s record: 11-0 league (L-L Section Two champion, placed sixth at L-L meet, placed third at District 3-2A meet, placed 12th at PIAA 2A meet)

Key returners: junior Hadley Shoaf (placed 15th at L-L meet, placed 13th at District 3-2A meet, placed 22nd at PIAA 2A meet), junior Myra Naqvi (placed 17th at L-L meet, placed 20th at District 3-2A meet, placed 41st PIAA 2A meet), senior Rachel Fernald (placed 29th at L-L meet, placed 28th at District 3-2A meet, placed 61st at PIAA 2A meet), senior Amanda Fry (placed 38th at L-L meet, placed 41st at District 3-2A meet), sophomore Emma Myers (placed 52nd at L-L meet, placed 45th at District 3-2A meet, placed 83rd at PIAA 2A meet)

Key newcomers: freshman Kendall Finicle, sophomore Olivia Zell

Coach’s thoughts: “The girls have worked extremely hard and have high goals. We will look to try and challenge the top teams in the league for a chance to go to District 3-2A championships. It is a tall task, but we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Additionally, they want to go undefeated in the Section Two meets. The key to the season is to stay healthy and avoid the shin splint "bug" that has given us a few issues this September. Their strengths are that they are a very supportive group, and they have a tight pack that should finish close together in meets.”

Elco

Coach: Chuck Gerberich (12th season)

Last year’s record:4-7 league

Key returners: sophomore Isabel Zwally (placed 50th at L-L meet, placed 31st at District 3-2A meet)

Key newcomers: freshman Nina Milosevic

Coach’s thoughts: “The front-two girls are solid and it will be fun watching them compete.  Girls team enjoys the camaraderie and being a team/family. Seeing the improvement of the girls will be exciting. The girls need to be happy to run well.”

Garden Spot

Coach: Traci Tempone (third season)

Last year’s record: 6-5 league

Key returners: senior Cloe Martin (placed 54th at L-L meet, placed 143rd at District 3-2A meet), senior Amanda Coblentz (placed 96th at L-L meet, placed 148th at District 3-2A meet), senior Samantha Davis (placed 112th at L-L meet, placed 199th at District 3-2A meet), junior Bevalee Tshudy (placed 131st at L-L meet), sophomore Abby Rissler (placed 138th at L-L meet)

Key newcomers: junior Nicole Kelch, junior Amanda Wolfe, freshman Alyssa Brace, freshman Miryam Ambriz, freshman Ajiah Fox

Coach’s thoughts: “This team has a group of returning leaders and new young runners. I have enjoyed seeing them work together over the summer to prepare to compete this season.”

Lampeter-Strasburg

Coach: Mari Cunningham (fifth season)

Last year’s record: 9-2 league (L-L Section Two runner-up, placed eighth at L-L meet)

Key returners: sophomore Aubrey Magagna (placed 30th at L-L meet, placed 110th at District 3-2A meet), junior Molly Wissler (placed 89th at L-L meet), senior Megan Stratton (placed 92nd at L-L meet, placed 182nd at District 3-2A meet), junior Tori Smith (placed 106th at L-L meet, placed 213th at District 3-2A meet), junior Gabrielle Burdge (placed 117th at L-L meet), junior Molly Wissler (placed 233rd at District 3-2A meet)

Key newcomers: Emma Drioullard (senior), Jaclyn Martin (9th), Morgan Wright (9th)

Coach’s thoughts: “The girls team "met" over the summer for Zoom core workouts. They are an encouraging group and starting to work together to push each other. Theme for the season is OVERCOME.”

Lancaster Catholic

Coach: Tom Simpson (11th consecutive season - previously coached LC from 1978-1984)

Last year’s record: 8-3 league

Key returners: junior Ella Sheaffer (placed 47th at L-L meet, placed 43rd at District 3-2A meet), junior Ellie Bomberger (placed 61st at L-L meet, placed 68th at District 3-2A meet), junior Annalise Kauffman (placed 75th at L-L meet, placed 34th at District 3-2A meet), sophomore Allie Cellucci (placed 98th at L-L meet, placed 98th at District 3-2A meet), senior Hannah Postlethwait (placed 100th at L-L meet, placed 111th at District 3-2A meet), junior Meghan Myers (placed 120th at L-L meet, placed 116th at District 3-2A meet), sophomore Kyra White (placed 121st at L-L meet), senior Erin Haldeman (placed 130th at L-L meet, placed 138th at District 3-2A meet)

Key newcomers: Kirsten Hirsch

Coach’s thoughts: “The girls had a good summer, though several were hobbled with injuries. Most are doing better, but caution is in order. The girls are also "Runnin' Down a Dream" and chasing that trip to the District III Meet. The girls have excellent spirit and camaraderie. Avoiding injury and re-injury is essential for a successful season since our numbers are fairly low.”

Lancaster Mennonite

Coach: Lee Thurber (second season)

Last year’s record: 2-7 league

Key returners: senior Jillian Hargraves (placed 74th at L-L meet, placed 76th at District 3-2A meet)

Coach’s thoughts: “It is unfortunate to have just one girl running but Jillian is a great leader and encourager for the whole program. We are looking for her to continue her hard work and strive to achieve her individual goals this year.”

Manheim Central

Coach: Ryan Kennedy (fourth season)

Last year’s record: 8-3 league (placed 29th at District 3-3A meet)

Key returners: junior Olivia Sunderland (placed 24th at L-L meet, placed 74th at District 3-2A meet), junior Isabella Reber (placed 70th at L-L meet, placed 155th at District 3-2A meet), junior Madelyn Hoffman (placed 78th at L-L meet, placed 191st at District 3-2A meet), sophomore Jenna Moffett (placed 99th at L-L meet, placed 195th at District 3-2A meet), junior Kylie Bannister (placed 129th at L-L meet), sophomore Paige Heslop (placed 134th at L-L meet)

Key newcomers: freshman Julie Lindberg, freshman Savannah Semple

Coach’s thoughts: “Our goal is to be better today than we were yesterday. We have a nice combination of upperclassmen leadership and talented freshmen athletes. The girls have trained consistently over the summer and we’re looking forward to seeing that training pay off as we start racing this week.”

Northern Lebanon

Coach: Tricia Schafebook (fifth season)

Last year’s record: 4-6 league

Key returners: sophpomore Alyssa Marlowe (placed 80th at L-L meet, placed 62nd at District 3-2A meet), senior Olivia Cheslock (placed 75th at District 3-2A meet), sophomore Angel Sanders (placed 104th at L-L meet, placed 87th at District 3-2A meet), sophomore Madison Bomgardner (placed 122nd at L-L meet), sophomore Toccoa Boyer (placed 123rd at L-L meet, placed 135th at District 3-2A meet), sophomore Erin Shuey (placed 124th at L-L meet), junior Katelyn Tipton (placed 135th at L-L meet)

Key newcomers: Reilly Harmon, Lauren Murray, Kadence Shuey

Coach’s thoughts: “The girls have been steadily improving as time goes by.  We are excited to have a full team this year!  We are hopeful for some postseason qualifiers again.

Octorara

Coach: David Thaler (first season)

Last year’s record: 0-9 league

Key newcomers: freshman Jessica Ferrara, freshman Peyton Demsky, junior Deanna Smoker, junior Chase Decker

Author’s note: This is Thaler’s first time coaching a high school program at any level. However, he is a 2001 Millersville University alumna who ran cross country and track for the Marauders.

Coach’s thoughts: “Jessica was our top junior high runner last year. I think she’ll do good this year. ...young team. I think only Jessica is the only one who has run cross country in the past. A young team, it’s a challenge for me.” ““I’ve never coached running before. But I’ve always had a love for the sport. This opportunity opened up this year. ...I have a son on the team. When the position opened up, I jumped at it. ...I’ve been reading a lot, studying up on different things. I have a background in training as a collegiate athlete for four years at Millersville. And I’ve coached my kids in youth sports over the years, and interacted with them in Boy Scouts. ...I feel like my interaction with youth through the years has helped me deal with figuring out how to handle different personalities and ability levels of these kids. I’m trying to grow this program.”

Pequea Valley

Coach: Keith Andrew (first season at Pequea Valley, previously coached Coatesville for 33 seasons)

Key newcomers: senior Ellie Stoltzfus

Author’s note: As a new cross country program, Pequea Valley is on a probationary period with the L-L League in its first two years of existence. As a result, Pequea Valley will run a league schedule, but those meets will not count towards its win-loss record. However, it’s non-league meets will count.

Coach’s thoughts: “Ellie has worked very hard, and her times are dropping. In four more weeks we can have her ready to compete to get to the next level.”


More stories to read:

What to Read Next