NEWVILLE — Saturday started as a dreary, overcast morning with light sprinkles on the rain-slicked Big Spring High School cross country course in Cumberland County. It ended up being a golden day for the Lancaster-Lebanon League.

Three L-L teams took home District Three championships: Annville-Cleona girls (1A), Lampeter-Strasburg boys (2A) and Hempfield boys (3A).

It was the first such championships in program history for A-C and L-S. Meanwhile, Hempfield edged Manheim Township by a point to capture the District 3-3A team crown for the second year in a row.

Additionally, A-C senior Braetan Peters won her second consecutive District 3-1A girls championship, while Hempfield junior Aidan Hodge was the first across the finish line in the District 3-3A boys race. Hodge became the first Black Knights’ boys runner since 1979 to win an individual district championship.

An additional 23 individual medals were collected by L-L runners, including a silver and a bronze.

Full District 3 results (individual, team)

3A boys: After finishing fourth in last year’s District 3-3A race as a sophomore, Hodge was the first across the finish line Saturday, crossing in a time of 16 minutes, 4 seconds, just two seconds in front of runner-up Ray Bondy of Carlisle. It’s the second year in a row, and third time in the last four years, an L-L boys runner won the District 3-3A crown. 

“The win means so much,” Hodge said. “From the end of last year visualizing I’m going to be the top guy and I’m going to do these things.”

Hempfield runners placed first, 10th, 39th, 51st and 53rd, while Manheim Township runners placed seventh, 26th, 36th, 41st and 45th. The finishes are worth pointing out since the Knights’ 154 team points edged the Blue Streaks’ 155 team points for the team championship.

“Every sickness, practice, hard workout we’ve been through to get here has paid off,” Hodge said of the team title. “The only thing left in front of us is states. There are a few teams in front of us there, but we want to win states.”

Hodge was one of six L-L runners to receive a 3A medal, alongside teammate Joseph Fahrney (10th, 16:30), Manheim Township senior Tyler Stevens (seventh, 16:24), Lebanon senior Caleb Hershey (11th, 16:33) and Cedar Crest teammates Ryan Wolfe (14th, 16:38) and Luke Hinegardner (20th, 16:44).

All qualified for the state 3A meet, as did Manheim Township freshman Cole Stevens (27th, 16:56) and Warwick junior Jake Forgione (27th, 16:57). All remaining runners on the Hempfield and Manheim Township teams will also compete at the state 3A tourney since the L-L rivals placed in the top-two in the team competition.

3A girls: Five L-L runners earned medals in the District 3-3A girls race: Manheim Township teammates Elena Barrall (14th, 19:24) and Ava Shirk (18th, 19:30), Hempfield sophomore Ella Wolfe (15th, 19:24), Warwick sophomore Ella Hartel (19th, 19:34) and McCaskey sophomore Isabella Shertzer (20th, 19:42).

All qualified for the state meet, as did McCaskey junior Milana Breuninger (23rd, 20:03), Donegal freshman Kathryn Fernald (27th, 20:16), Ephrata junior Madison Kimmel (33rd, 20:26), Warwick senior Alexa Wenger (34th, 20:27) and Hempfield sophomore Molly Siebert (40th, 20:34).

2A boys: L-S placed five runners in the top 22, eventually garnering 53 points to win the District 3-2A team championship, its first in program history. The Pioneers topped Greencastle-Antrim by 14 points.

“Last year we were disorganized a little bit. People were doing their own thing. This year we’ve been running together more,” Whitaker said. “Coming into the season we knew we’d be ranked high up,” Whitaker said. “We’ve been pushing each other through hard workouts, trying to get our mileage up as a team. I feel we have more drive when we run together.”

After placing third in this event as a freshman last year, Whitaker was the District 3-2A runner-up Saturday, finishing 13 seconds back of winner Weber Long of Greencastle-Antrim. Long is a Wake Forest commit.

The L-L had nine 2A boys medalists: Whitaker and L-S teammates Ben Devine (9th, 16:51), Parker Stoner (15th, 17:08) and Adrian Elia (17th, 17:13), Annville-Cleona teammates Jahmar Gonzalez-Allie (14th, 17:08) and Landon Hostetter (19th, 17:22) and Lancaster Catholic senior Mason Moore (20th, 17:27).

All qualified for the state 2A meet, as did L-S senior Luka Vranich (22nd, 17:35) and Elco sophomore Camden Marquette (25th, 17:42).

2A girls: Lancaster Mennonite sophomore Claire Thomas (8th, 20:28) was the L-L's top finisher in the girls 2A race. She was one of four 2A medalists from the L-L, along with Elco junior Isabel Zwally (16th, 21:16), Lampeter-Strasburg junior Aubrey Magagna (17th, 21:19), Octorara sophomore Jessica Ferrera (20th, 21:25).

All qualified for the state 2A race, as did Octorara freshman Meghan McGinnis (24th, 21:41).

1A girls: Annville-Cleona senior Braetan Peters became the back-to-back District 3-1A girls champion, crossing the line in 20:10. Peters was already the first A-C girls runner to win a district title. She’s the just the second A-C runner overall to win back-to-back district crowns, a feat last pulled off by Bob Stachow in 1973 and 1974.

“Coming out that was my goal,” Peters said. “I wanted to run a good time. I’m super excited for that to happen again this year.”

Immediately after getting her gold medal, Peters, a two-sport student-athlete, hit the road for the 1 p.m. District 3-1A field hockey quarterfinal at Lancaster Mennonite.

A-C teammate Cassi Cassi Clemson placed third in 21:22. The Dutchmen had five runners in the top 23. A-C's 29 team points was good enough to win the district crown in front of second-place York Catholic (47 points). It's the first such title in program history.

Veritas Academy sophomore Ruth Reeser (14th, 23:03) and freshman Katie Coughlan (16th, 23:16) qualified for states.

1A boys: Columbia freshman Matthew McNair (16th, 18:36) qualified for the state 1A meet.

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