Manheim Township Dominates Warwick and Elizabethtown in LL Cross Country Action | High school athletics
All eyes were on the girls ‘cross country meet between Manheim Township, Warwick and Elizabethtown on Tuesday afternoon at the Bears’ den, as all three teams arrived with just one loss between them, the Blue Streaks. and the Warriors vying for first place in Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League.
The ladies showed up, but the fireworks ended up coming from the boys’ side as a course record nearly fell. Manheim Township won a sweep in both competitions, overtaking Warwick 23-38 (girls) and 16-46 (boys), as well as Elizabethtown (18-44 girls, 15-50 boys). The Warriors beat the Bears 22-39 (girls) and 15-44 (boys).
Leading the way Blue Streaks maestro Tyler Stevens finished first in boys with a record time of 15:53, shared with former Penn Manor and current Temple runner Graham Thomas.
“Graham and I are great friends so I’ll probably text him later tonight about that,” Stevens said. “He warned me that this course would be difficult, so I came ready to fight.”
“It’s so satisfying to see him come to this,” said Township head coach Kevin Stover. “I’m so thrilled for him right now. He needed this, and he stepped up. A course record like this is really exciting.
It was a big boost for Stevens, who has suffered from an ankle injury in recent weeks. But he’s clearly approaching 100%, and dominating from start to finish at Elizabethtown will certainly be a huge boost in confidence as the regular season draws to a close.
“I’ve been dealing with this for the last couple of weeks which has been difficult,” Stevens said. “There has been a lot of adversity this season. This is the best I have felt since then.
The record for the girls’ course was also almost broken. Ella Hartel of Warwick was just three seconds off Gwyneth Young’s 2018 record. Hartel fought Township’s Ava Shirk, taking the win in 18:39.
“I was really surprised,” Hartel said. “I didn’t even think I could do that. Beating Ava was the big goal. My second mile was a lot faster than I expected, but this third mile was tough. You zigzag a lot along these hills. It’s really good for my progress and it will help me gain confidence for the next two races.
“I thought she left with confidence,” said Warwick head coach Matt Bomberger. “If you decide to lead the race at the start, you have to do the right thing to put your opponent behind it. It shows where Ella is at right now, and it’s a good sign for next week when she shows up against Ella Wolfe (from Hempfield).
Shirk’s time of 18:52 is actually tied for fourth all-time at E-town as well, and the Blue Streaks also had rookie Elena Barrall, who came third at 7:07, also in the top 10.
Depth was the theme of the day for Township; that was enough to lead the Streaks to a double win, even though riders from all three teams set personal bests. Jordan DiRisio (fourth, 19:45) and Alison Fink (10th, 20:38) entered the top 10 for the girls of Elizabethtown, as did Sidoney Freeman (fifth, 19:52) for Warwick, but the Blue Streaks Sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth places would be blocked between Jenny Weiss (8:01 p.m.), Macyn Fogleman (8:10 p.m.), Sabrina Hess (8:23 p.m.) and Marina Papadimitriou (8:31 p.m.).
It was even more dominant on the boys’ side. Jacob Mathers (second, 16:34), Cole Schwartz (third, 16:37) and Luke Papadimitriou (fourth, 16:41) passed Jake Forgione of Warwick (fifth, 16:46), and the Blue Streaks had Aaron Wood (sixth, 4:56 p.m.), Dylan DelVecchio (7th, 5:02 p.m.), Adam Kingston (9th, 5:09 p.m.) and Gunner Geib (10th, 5:16 p.m.) in the top 10 as well. Mathers and Schwartz’s times were each good enough to place in the top 10 on the course.
“Warwick and E-town are good programs with solid training, so they’re always going to push you,” Stover said. “This is not a meeting that you can despise. We will get results if we run well. I had the impression that the women’s team was probably the first meeting of the season in the section in terms of talent. Having a good competition will only make us better as runners. “
“We came together as best we could,” Bomberger said. “Our number 2 runner, Alexa Wenger (16th in 21:21), was feeling bad. Our entire team has grown stronger over time, which was encouraging. But we knew Township was going to be strong and deep. Coach Stover does a fantastic job with the numbers he has. They have the most kids in the league, but he’s maximizing all of his runners. Going against them will only make us better.
Warwick’s Summit Smoker (eighth, 5:07 pm) completed the boys’ top 10. Nathan Johnson (14th, 5:49 pm) led Elizabethtown.
Next Tuesday’s fixtures will be the last of the regular season in Section 1 ahead of the LL Championships in Ephrata on Tuesday, October 19.