Girls' runners finish best-ever, 5th in districts

Charles Robbins l Sports Editor

After having one of the most successful seasons in school history, cross country wrapped up their season two weeks ago.

The girls’ team in particular had their most successful season ever, finishing with a 6-1 record and second place in the Lancaster-Lebanon League. They also placed fifth in districts, the highest finish ever for girls’ cross country, the previous high being ninth place all the way back in 1997.

For the girls, the top four teams qualify for the state tournament, so they just missed out.

“We had a very successful season,” said head coach Brandon Risser. “The girls just crushed it this year.”

Last year the girls ended with a record of 4-3, so they met Coach Risser’s goal of showing improvement.

“My goals weren’t anything concrete, like this place or this place,” said Risser. “I think I just wanted to see growth and improvement, and in a sport like running, that’s one of the nice things because you can always compare yourself to where you were the previous season.”

Their only loss of the entire season was to eventual district champion and perennial powerhouse Manheim Township.

“Township always seems to have a strong group of girls,” said senior Grace Tadajweski. “However, this year they were especially strong. But I’m happy with how we came at them and really put ourselves in the race.”

According to Risser, senior leadership was a key part of the girls’ success this year. Senior captains included Tadajweski, Jill Tobias and Sarah Durning.

“I couldn’t ask for three better leaders,” said Risser. “They just helped elevate the program to the highest level it’s ever been, and it comes back to the way they go about things. They just set the right tone, very positive, very inclusive, great role models and just great people.”

Although the boys’ team did not reach the heights that the girls did, they still had a successful season.

“We were a little stronger last year, but we just lost some strong seniors from last year,” said Risser. “I want to emphasize that we still had a very strong season.”

The boys went 5-2 this year; last year they went 7-3. They finished in sixth place in the league and 14th in districts.

Not only did the boys and girls achieve success as teams this year, they also had strong individual performances. Junior Ben Causak and freshman Ellie Schneider both qualified for the state tournament on Nov. 5 Causak finished 121st out of 240.

“It was definitely a goal of mine to make states,” said Causak. “I learned a lot this year.” Schneider finished in 131st, also out of 240

“It was a really good experience,” said Schneider. “My race wasn’t the best, but the overall atmosphere of states was really cool. I’m just so happy I made it this far in my cross country season.”

“They both tell you they probably would’ve liked to have finished a little higher up, but the state meet is just different, you gotta get there, you gotta experience it, and they’re both returning for next season,” said Risser. “Hopefully that sets them up to go there next year and finish farther up.”

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