Local thinclads earn D2 medals, heading to the state meet

While neither school was able to bring home a team title this year, Honesdale and Western Wayne both turned in stellar efforts at the District Two Cross Country Championships.

The Lady Hornets led the charge, powering their way to a third place overall finish in Class AA.

Coach Lindsey Pender's girls came into the event, which was hosted again this year by Lakeland, as defending champs. This time around, though, the local lasses finished behind Scranton Prep and Dallas.

“I'm very proud of this team,” Coach Pender said.

“We had to deal with some adversity early in the season, but the girls re-focused and worked really hard. Third place in such a tough classification is nothing to be ashamed of. They left it all out on the course and that's all we can ask of them.”

All told, Honesdale will be sending three runners to the 2017 PIAA State Meet as Dustin Edsall, David Mead and Mackenzie LaMorte all qualified.

“I'm thrilled to be taking three kids to states,” said Lindsey. “They've worked so hard and it's paying off big time. I'm extremely happy for them.”

Western Wayne will also be well-represented this year in Hershey as three runners qualified: Jacob Pasake, Annie Skirpan and Anya Rusnak.

“Jake medaled there last year, so I'm hoping to see that happen again,” Coach Corey Foote said. “He's a great kid and I'm so pleased that he's making the trip one more time.

“This is the first trip for both girls, so I just want them to do their best and enjoy the experience.”

The PIAA State Cross Country Championships will be held in Hershey on Saturday, Nov. 4.

Girls Race

Unfortunately for our local schools (and the rest of District Two) Scranton Prep just dominated the girls Class AA race.

The Classics placed all five of their runners in the Top 20, finishing up with a team score of 38 points That was good for a whopping 42-point margin over runner-up Dallas.

The Lady Hornets totaled 94 points as runners nailed down five spots within the Top 25.

LaMorte led the way.

A battle-tested, veteran runner who's no stranger to big meets, Mackenzie carved out a spot for herself in sixth place. She covered the challenging 3.1-mile course in a time of 20:34.13 and earned nothing but praise from her mentor.

“Mackenzie will be making her third trip to states, so this is kind of bittersweet for her,” Coach Pender said. “She's a very talented kid and a hard worker. I'm so proud of how Mackenzie ran today and that she gets to go back to Hershey again.”

Pratt also powered her way to a medal, finishing 18th overall with a time of 21:08.48.

“Dana finished in the Top 20, she medaled and just missed going to states by one or two places,” Coach Pender said. “She's had a great year.”

Rounding out the front five for Honesdale were: Alexandra Skidmore (21:44.32), Isabella Frigoletto (21:56.71) and Rachel Olver (21:56.84).

Also contributing to the Red & Black cause were Keturah Mayers (22:27.97) and Cassie Griffis (27:05).

Meanwhile, Western Wayne was on its way to a Top 10 team finish as well.

The Lady 'Cats sent just five runners to the starting line, but still managed to forge a seventh place effort.

Skirpan was first across the line, posting a time of 20:36.99 and finishing up eighth. Rusnak was right on her heels, crossing the line in 20:37.72 and claiming the ninth spot.

Both girls are headed to the state meet.

“Annie is a junior and I'm so happy she's finally going,” Coach Foote said. “She fell just a little bit short the last two years, but now she's made it in track and cross country.

“Anya is only a freshman, but she's come so far in the past few years. Two years ago, as a seventh grader, Anya ran here in the junior high race and she wasn't even on the A-Team. She ran in the B-Race. So, she's improved dramatically and her future as a runner is really, really bright.”

Also finishing strong for the Lady 'Cats were: Paige Barillo (22:17), Lily Black (22:46) and Jillian Dudley (25:53).

Boys Race

Pasake continues to dazzle for Western Wayne on the boys side of the ledger, making his third trip to Hershey.

Jake wound up fifth in the overall AA standings with a time of 16:55.75.

“Jake had to fight his way through an injury during the season, but nothing slowed him down today,” Coach Foote said. “He got off to a fast start an settled right in. I'm very happy for him.”

Honesdale managed to get a pair of runners through to states as both Edsall and Mead qualified.

Dustin just missed the Top 10, winding up 11th with a time of 17:37.

“Making it to the state meet as a sophomore is just huge,” Coach Pender said. “Dustin got off to a great start today. He was running sixth or seventh for half the race. So, to finish where he did and qualify for states is a major accomplishment.”

Mead finished 20th overall with a time of 18:03 and grabbed the last slot for Hershey.

“The biggest thing with David is that he just really wants it,” Coach Pender said. “I'm super proud of David for medaling and getting to states as well.”