NEWVILLE - Saturday’s District Three cross country championship races at Big Spring High School was a chilly but golden day full of plenty of hardware for Lancaster-Lebanon League runners. The day began with Annville-Cleona teammates Braetan Peters and Cassi Clemson taking the top-two spots in the District 3-1A girls race. And it ended with Penn Manor senior Graham Thomas and McCaskey senior Stephen Schousen taking the top-two spots in the District 3-3A boys race. The Hempfield boys also won the District 3-3A team title.
Twenty-nine L-L runners went home with a district medal, and 19 qualified for next week’s PIAA championship races.
Class 3A boys: Thomas, this year’s L-L champ and last year’s district runner-up, crossed the finish line in 15 minutes, 41 seconds, his new personal record. He stayed with the lead pack in the first mile-and-a-half.
“After that, I rode a downhill and just went out hard from there,” Thomas said.
Schousen was following close behind.
“He (Thomas made his move at a mile-and-a-half),” Thomas said. “I was a little worried if I went with him, I’d burn out.”
Schousen crossed the finish line in 15:47.
Seven other L-L boys runners claimed medals: Hempfield’s Aidan Hodge (fourth, 15:58), Evan Eshleman (ninth, 16:10), Joseph Fahrney (11th, 16:12) and Dale Winand (18th, 16:21), Cedar Crest’s Ryan Wolfe (13th, 16:12) and Manheim Township’s Tyler Stevens (15th).
Thomas, Schousen, Wolfe and Stevens qualified for states. As did all runners for the Hempfield boys by winning the team trophy.
“They work as a unit every single time they race,” Hempfield third-year coach Curt Rogers said. “They like to start fast. There was a big try to get to states with only one team (from districts) qualifying.”
Cross country: Nine L-L League runners medal in District 3-3A championship— John Walk (@JWalkLNP) October 31, 2020
Penn Manor's Thomas (1st)
McCaskey's Schousen (2nd)
Hempfield's Hodge (4th), Eshleman (9th), Fahrney (11th), Winand (18th)
Cedar Crest's Wolfe (13th) + Hinegardner (16th)
Manheim Township's Stevens (15th) pic.twitter.com/pMqneGRO6q
McCaskey senior Stephen Schousen wants to make one thing clear off the top: Every cross coun…
Penn Manor senior cross country runner Graham Thomas has never had his lungs checked. Not th…
Class 3A girls: McCaskey senior Arielle Breuninger (fourth, 18:33) and Ephrata senior Alyssa Fedorshak (fifth, 18:38) were the top-two L-L finishers in the District 3-3A girls race.
“This meant so much to me to be able to finish as high as I did,” Breuninger said. “It took me by surprise a little bit. The last two years I finished 14th or 16th. So it was a big jump for me to finish fourth today.”
A year ago, Fedorshak was in a wheelchair at Big Spring, days removed from foot surgery after stepping on a sewing needle. On Saturday, she set a new Ephrata girls’ program-best time, more than a week after winning the L-L title.
Also earning medals were Warwick’s Anna Martin (seventh, 18:51), Elizabethtown’s Maddie Quinn (ninth, 18:51), Warwick’s Ella Hartel (13th, 18:59), Manheim Township’s Ava Shirk (19:01) and McCaskey’s Gabrielle Thiry (16th, 19:07).
Breuninger, Fedorshak, Martin, Quinn and Hartel qualified for states. Warwick was the District 3-3A team runner-up.
Cross country: L-L L-L League had 7 runners medal in District 3-3A girls race— John Walk (@JWalkLNP) October 31, 2020
McCaskey's Arielle Breuninger (4th) + Gabi Thiry (16th)
Ephrata's Alyssa Fedorshak (5th)
Warwick's Anna Martin (7th) + Ella Hartel (13th)
E-town's Maddie Quinn (9th)
Manheim Township's Ava Shirk (14th) pic.twitter.com/bhKZkihMwY
Class 2A boys: Competing at districts for the first time, Lampeter-Strasburg freshman Colin Whitaker was the top L-L finisher in the boys 2A race, placing third in a time of 16:17. His performance also qualified him for the state meet. The L-S boys were the District 3-2A team runner-up.
“There wasn’t much of a gameplan,” Whitaker said. “I just wanted to stick until I fell. ...it means the world. It really does.”
Also in the top-20 and receiving a medal was Annville-Cleona senior Jack Tshudy (ninth, 16:40), Donegal senior Brock Overlander (15th, 16:53), L-S sophomore Parker Stoner (16th, 16:55) and Elco senior Trenton Brubaker (20th, 17:11).
Cross country: Five L-L League runners medaled in District 3-2A race— John Walk (@JWalkLNP) October 31, 2020
Lampeter-Strasburg's Colin Whitaker (3rd) and Parker Stoner (16th)
Annville-Cleona's Jack Tshudy (9th)
Donegal's Brock Overlander (15th)
Elco's Trenton Brubaker (20th) pic.twitter.com/4KJW9Muh0K
Class 1A girls: A year ago, A-C’s Peters and Clemson were Nos. 2 and 5 in the District 3-1A girls race. On Saturday, they took gold and silver, respectively. Peters crossed first in 20:08, followed by Clemson in 20:43. Both qualified for states.
“Having both of us up there was amazing.” Clemson said.
“I’m just so grateful,” Peters said. “I was looking at these other people, figuring out a plan and glad I was able to separate myself at the end.”
Cross country: Annville-Cleona's Braeten Peters (20:08) and Cassi Clemson (20:43) go 1, 2 in District 3-1A championship race at Big Spring @LancasterSports @AnnvilleCleona @ac_principal @AC_coachG @AC_CoachHeckard @CentralPARunner @piaadistrict3 pic.twitter.com/KQPkI9yeYx— John Walk (@JWalkLNP) October 31, 2020
Others: L-S runners Aubrey Magagna (11th, 20:50) and Jaclyn Martin (18th, 21:28), Elco’s Isabel Zwally (15th, 21:16) and Octorara’s Jessica Ferrara (16th, 21:22) earned medals in the District 3-2A girls race. Columbia sophomores James Brady (35th, 19:45.4) and Aiden Miller (36th, 19:45.6) finished side-by-side in the District 3-1A boys race.