VARDEN — Western Wayne hosted its first cross country cluster meet of the 2012 season on a crisp, clear summer evening in Varden.
Hundreds of local fans took advantage of the pristine conditions to pack the Sharkey Rosetti Memorial Stadium stands and watch an exciting race unfold.
Although it's only Week Two of the Lackawanna League season, several individual runners and teams dropped tantalizing hints as to possible District Two storylines.
Honesdale's Summer Hill was the first girl across the line and even cracked the overall Top 10. Wallenpaupack Area's Corey Schmalzle captured the boys crown, leading a 1-2-3 Buckhorn finish.
"It's very early in the season, but I definitely like some of the things I saw out there today," Hornet skipper Lindsey Pender told TWI Sports. "I'm just ecstatic."
She had every right to be. Honesdale's boys team posted a hard-earned win over Delaware Valley and the girls rolled to a victory over archrival Paupack.
"I take solace in the fact that the season is really only just beginning," Bucks coach Dan Nalesnik said. "The girls are coming on strong and the boys looked very good. I'm defintely pleased with the direction our kids are going."
Western Wayne's Justin Collins was the consummate host, going to extraordinary lengths to make all of his guests feel right at home.
"You don't get to do as much coaching as you'd like when you're the home team," he admitted. "But, I think overall the day was a success. I think we're starting to build something special here and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds over the next couple of years."
All three local teams will return to Lackawanna League action next Tuesday. Honesdale and Western Wayne are at Montrose, while Paupack journeys to Valley View. Varsity races begin at approximately 5:30 p.m.
By the Numbers
In girls action, Honesdale claimed all three top spots in defeating Paupack by a score of 21-34 and Delaware Valley 15-50.
Hill led the charge, stopping the clock in a blistering time of 18:24. That was good enough for first place among the girls, 10th place overall and a gaping 1:32 cushion over her closest female competitor.
"Summer was amazing," Coach Pender said. "She's just so incredibly focused right now. Summer is running so well that we have to keep looking for new goals for her. Today, I challenged her to break into the 18s and she did that easily."
Katie Miller and Haley West chased Hill home. Miller crossed the line at 19:56 with West right on her heels (19:59). Lindsey Hilton (20:04) and Sdyney Miller (22:09) rounded out the Red & Black attack.
Page 2 of 2 - Paupack's girls put up a valiant struggle, but in the end proved no match for Honesdale's 1-2-3 sweep. Coach Nalesnik's squad lost to the Lady Hornets, 21-34, but bounced back to defeat Western Wayne, 15-50.
Hannah Stack paced the Lady Bucks, cruising home in a time of 20:03. Taylor Maxson (20:38) and Erika Maxson (20:47) were next in for Paupack, while Deidre Schmitt (21:24) and Haley Miller (21:48) shut down the scoring.
"We knew Honesdale would be tough to beat today," Coach Nalesnik said. "Their girls ran very well and they deserved to win. That said, I'm happy with how our girls did. They're working hard and getting better every day."
Western Wayne's top female finisher was Allie Hess who posted a solid time of 22:41. Julie Alvarez (23:23), Carly Swingle (24:12) and Olivia Funk (24:15) also made their mentor proud.
"This is a terrific group of girls," Coach Collins said. "They're a pleasure to work with. These are the kind of kids who'll run through a wall if you ask them to. I'm very pleased with their efforts today."
On the boys side of the ledger, Schmalzle was the main story.
Paupack's top runner dominated the race, covering the 3.1-mile course in a time of 17:27. Corey was 19 seconds faster than his closest pursuers, which turned out to be a pair of teammates.
Robbie Segalla finished second overall at 17:46, while Brian Rose took third in 17:59.
"You really can't ask much more than a 1-2-3 finish," Coach Nalesnik said with a smile. "Those three boys ran a nice, solid race. We still have tons of room for improvement, but I'm definitely encouraged by this type of result so early in the season."
Honesdale's boys downed Delaware Valley(25-50), but came up short against Paupack (17-38).
Mark Tetonis was the first Hornet home, clocking in at 18:07 and capturing 4th place overall.
"He's such a great kid," Coach Pender said. "Mark worked very, very hard over the summer and all those miles are starting to pay off. I think he's going to have a big year."
Greg Senft (18:42), Evan Kennedy (18:50), Gavin Canfield (19:23) and Logan Miller (19:27) rounded out Honesdale's front five.
For Western Wayne, Andrew Davidson led the charge with a 7th place showing (18:21). He was aided & abetted by teammates Adam Vaccaro (18:35), Ian Keough (18:54), Adam Curtis (19:11) and Zack Curtis (19:29).