DIMOCK — Honesdale's varsity cross country teams turned in a pair of solid performances at this year's District 2 Championships.
The Red & Black trekked all the way to Elk Lake High School Wednesday to compete in the annual event, which attracted hundreds of elite runners from more than 40 schools.
"It's so exciting and also a little bit nerve wracking," said Coach Lindsey Pender on a dreary, overcast day in Dimock.
"Our kids have worked very hard for a long time just to get to this day. As coaches, all we can do now is sit back and hope all that hard work pays off."
And, indeed it did.
While Honesdale didn't bring home any team titles this year, the Red & Black certainly didn't disappoint.
Coach Pender's girls team battled its way to a 4th place finish in a rugged Class AA field. The boys were nearly as impressive, finishing up in 7th overall.
Dallas captured the girls crown, riding another stellar effort from Regan Rome to gold medals.
On the boys side of the ledger, Tunkhannock and Scranton Prep dueled right down to the wire before the Tigers finally emerged with the victory.
Both of those teams are now headed to the PIAA State Meet, which will be held Saturday, November 2 in Hershey.
On the Course
One year ago, the always challenging Elk Lake course was reduced to a quagmire following two days of heavy rain.
Page 2 of 4 - This time around, though, conditions were much more conducive to running.
Honesdale's girls varsity squad was the first of our local teams in action, hitting the starting line at noon for the Class AA race.
Dallas, North Pocono and Scranton Prep would engage in a 3-way battle for the top spot, but the Lady Hornets were also right in the thick of things.
In the end, Dallas ended up in first place with a team point total of 36. The Lady Trojans were second, edging the Classics by just a single point 79-80.
Honesdale (139 pts) and Tunkhannock (145 pts) rounded out the front five.
"I'm ecstatic!" exclaimed Coach Pender, who's said prior to the race that a Top Five finish was the ultimate goal for the Lady Hornets.
"It all just clicked for our girls today. I could tell at the starting line we were going to have a good day. I'm so proud of these girls!"
Haley West led the way. A senior and veteran of the cross country program, West crossed the finish line in 20:18.
That time was good for 10th place overall, a District Two medal and a trip to the state meet.
"I can't even begin to put into words how happy I am for Haley," Coach Pender said. "She's such a great kid and she's worked so hard this year. I can't wait to take her down there so she can enjoy that experience."
Erin O'Neill also rose to the occasion at Elk Lake.
Another battle-tested senior runner, O'Neill earned herself a D-2 medal by stopping the clock at 21:08 and finishing 19th.
Page 3 of 4 - "We knew Erin was right on the cusp all race long," said Coach Pender. "She did a great job today. I'm so happy for Erin closing out her high school career with district medal."
Freshman Faith Howell was the third Lady Hornet home, covering the course in a time of 22:07 and winding up 31st.
Lindsay Hilton (22:27), Cheyenne Schneider (22:34), Maggie O'Day (22:39) and Rachel Fritz (23:09) rounded out the Red & Black attack.
Runners from 14 schools crowded the starting line for the boys Class AA race.
Tunkhannock, Prep and Dallas dominated the front 15, vying for the team title.
In the end, the Tigers edged out both the Cavs and Mountaineers for the crown. Tunkhannock tallied 47 points, while Prep was second with 55 and Dallas third at 61.
Dominic DeLuca of Dallas won the individual title, crossing the line in a blistering time of 15:53.
Lake Lehman's Dominic Hockebury earned runner-up status, covering the course in 16:22
Tunkhannock's Jack Tidball was third (16:29), Kyle Perry of Prep was fourth (16:48) and Valley View's Jason Heid came home fifth (16:53).
Valley View (144 pts), and Holy Redeemer (158) rounded out the Top Five.
Berwick finished 6th at 158 and the Hornets wound up 7th with 232.
Mark Tetonis led the way for Honesdale. The hard-charging senior posted a time of 18:19, good for 33rd in the overall standings.
Page 4 of 4 - Freshman phenom Ben Wilken was next in for the Hornets. Wilken clocked in at 18:47, good for a spot in the Top 50 (41st).
Stanley Rembish (18:53), Tommy Wolfe (19:18), Greg Senft (19:28), Sam Kille (19:41) and Logan Miller (20:26) also contributed key efforts for the Hornets.