Hundreds gather to reflect on another exciting cross country season

Early on in the season, it looked as though Honesdale was in for a disappointing 2017 cross country campaign.

The Lady Hornets in particular were struggling.

Coming on the heels of a sensational season that ended with an unlikely and unexpected District Two championship, hopes were running high that another title run was in the offing.

And then came four losses right out of the gate to perennial powerhouses Holy Cross, Scranton Prep, Abington Heights and Valley View.

None of these were of the blowout variety, but the setbacks still left coaches and fans alike scratching their heads.

“It was an interesting time,” Coach Lindsey Pender admitted during our annual conversation at this year's D2 Championships.

“We had to take a deep breath, take a step back and re-evaluate. We made some changes and re-dedicated ourselves. In the long run, those losses may have been a blessing in disguise.”

What followed was a dramatic turnaround that propelled the local thinclads to yet another successful season … a season that was celebrated recently at the program's annual awards banquet.

Looking Back

This year's edition of the event was once again held in the high school cafeteria and hosted by the Friends of Track & Cross Country.

Hundreds of family members, fans and friends turned out to show their support on Sunday night, honoring both the junior high and varsity teams.

All those in attendance enjoyed a delicious meal, then sat back and reflected on an entertaining season.

The Red & Black girls team turned on the jets late in the year, powering their way to a Lackawanna League record of 14-4. That was good for fifth in the overall standings.

On the boys side of the ledger, the Hornets wound up with a mark of 16-6 and finished eighth.

These performances catapulted Honesdale to one more brilliant performance at the district meet.

Officials once again tapped Lakeland to host the event, and so hundreds of runners from Class A through AAA made the trek to Chapman Lake on Wednesday, October 25.

There, the Lady Hornets made an electrifying run at defending their title.

Led by a sixth place finish from Mackenzie LaMorte, the local lasses powered their way to a third place showing in AA. Dana Pratt also earned a medal by cracking the Top 20.

Only Scranton Prep and Dallas finished ahead of the Lady Hornets.

Meanwhile, Honesdale's boys varsity squad closed out its season in fine fashion by copping sixth place in Class AA.

Dustin Edsall paced the Red & Black attack by taking 11th. He would be joined on the medals stand by teammate David Mead, who was 20th.

LaMorte, Edsall and Mead all advanced to the PIAA State Meet, which was held in Hershey on Saturday, Nov 4.

LaMorte tallied a 77th place finish among a field of 227 runners. Mackenzie posted a time of 20:50.

Mead placed 168th in the boys AA race (18:31), while Edsall ended up 179th in the 238-person field (18:40).

On the Dais

This year's major award winners at the Honesdale Friends of Track & Cross Country banquet are...

•Dustin Edsall: Boys Most Outstanding Runner

•Nick Lizza: Boys Rookie of the Year

•Thor Crozakian: Boys Most Improved Runner

•David Mead: Boys ROC Award

•Mackenzie LaMorte: Girls Most Outstanding Runner

•Alexandra Skidmore: Girls Rookie of the Year

•Rachel Olver: Girls Most Improved Runner

•Isabella Frigoletto: Girls ROC Award

•JP Ahern: Junior High Boys Most Outstanding Runner

•Aidan LaTourette: Boys Junior High Rookie of the Year

•Evin Schultz: Boys Junior High Most Improved Runner

•Derek Jensen: Boys Jr. High Coaches Dedication Award

•Rachael Collins: Girls Junior High Most Outstanding Runner

•Tommi Vizcaino: Girls Junior High Rookie of the Year

•Chloe Lyle: Girls Junior High Most Improved Runner

•Olivia Canfield: Girls Junior High Coaches Dedication Award

•Dustin Edsall: Parents Association Fastest Home Course Time Award (Boys Varsity).

•Mackenzie Lamorte: Parents Association Fastest Home Course Time Award (Girls Varsity).

•JP Ahern: Parents Association Fastest Home Course Time Award (JH Boys).

•Rachael Collins: Parents Association Fastest Home Course Time Award (JH Girls).

•Evin Schultz: Fifth Runner Award (Junior High Lackawanna League Meet).

•Drew Murphy and Cassie Griffis: Parents Association Academic Scholarship Award

•Josef Holbert: Ed Balanovich Memorial Award

•Billy Bekanich: Coach Joe Macey Vision Award