On a cloudy day in Dimock, Honesdale's varsity cross country teams each ran to a Top Ten finish at the annual D-2 Meet. Summer Hill and Brooks Jensen led the way for the Red & Black.
Heading into Wednesday’s District Two Championships, Lindsey Pender had high expectations for her teams.
Honesdale’s young cross country coach hoped to see both boys and girls squads solidly ensconced in the Top Ten...and that’s exactly what happened on a cloudy day at Elk Lake.
The Lady Hornets, who ran their way to a 19-3 record this fall in Lackawanna League action, finished 6th in the overall Class AAA standings.
“I’m very pleased with the effort,” Coach Pender told TWI Sports. “The girls went out there and gave us everything they had. This is a tough district because there are so many talented runners and so many good teams. I’m satisfied with where we are.”
On the boys side of the bracket, Honesdale also authored a solid performance.
Led by senior Brooks Jensen, the Hornets ended up 8th in a brutally competitive Class AAA race.
“The boys did a really nice job out there today,” Coach Pender said. “We packed it in a lot closer than we have in past races and the results reflect that. I think we finished higher than some of the teams we struggled against during the season, so I’m very happy to see that.”
This marked the second straight year Elk Lake hosted the District Two Cross Country Championships. The event, held in rural Dimock, attracted 41 teams, hundreds of runners and thousands of fans.
“The folks here at Elk Lake do a phenomenal job,” said Coach Pender. “It’s a challenging course and we enjoy coming up here for districts.”
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When Summer Hill crossed the finish line at the end of Wednesday’s Class AAA girls race, a frown creased her normally happy face.
Hill is still only a junior and already one of the most decorated runners in the history of Honesdale cross country. However, she finished 6th in the standings and obviously wasn’t overjoyed with the outcome.
“I guess I’m pretty happy with how I ran today,” she said just moments after crossing the line and earning yet another D-2 medal. “I knew I’d have to get out as fast as I could because there are so many good runners in this race.”
Hill covered Elk Lake’s 3.1-mile layout in a time of 19:50.
Dallas SuperSoph Regan Rome won the race for a second time in 19:18. She was followed home by: Taylor Ross (Abington Heights, 19:38); Kate Lewis (North Pocono, 19:38); Tessa Barrett (Scranton Prep, 19:49); Nicole Buehrle (Hazleton Area, 19:49).
Summer’s Top 10 finish translates into a third consecutive trip to states. Hill will be training hard this week in anticipation of the 2011 PIAA Championships, which are slated for Saturday, November 5th in Hershey.
“We’re going to train a little bit differently this time around,” said Coach Pender. “I think by next Friday we’ll have a good gameplan and be ready to roll. I’m excited thinking about what Summer could accomplish this year.”
As a freshman, Hill cracked the Top 75 at Hershey. Last year, she moved up into the Top 50. Next weekend, she’s shooting for her first-ever state medal.
“That’s pretty much all I’m thinking about,” Summer said. “I really want that medal. That’s my biggest goal and I’ll do whatever it takes to get there.”
Haley West and Katie Miller were Honesdale’s next two runners in. An up & coming sophomore, West stopped the clock at 21:38. That time left her 25th in the overall standings.
“I’m very proud of Haley,” said Coach Pender. “She’s had an outstanding season and we’re expecting big things from her next year.”
Miller is just a freshman and a first year cross country runner. Katie has been nursing a nagging knee injury all season, but still battled her way to a time of 21:56 (32nd).
“When you think about what Katie accomplished this year, it’s pretty amazing,” said Coach Pender. “She’s a freshman and she had never run cross country before. When you add in the fact that she wasn’t 100 percent physically...it’s really amazing.”
Rounding out Honesdale’s front seven were: Dorie Henry (38th, 22:17); Mackenzie Henry (49th, 22:46); Kelli Jackson (56th, 22:55); Erin O’Neill (60th, 23:10).
Brooks Jensen entered Wednesday’s race with one thought in mind.
“I wanted a District Two medal,” he said simply. “That was my main goal even before the season started. At about the 2-mile mark, I didn’t know if I could do it. But, I passed a bunch of kids there at the end and that did it.”
The Top 20 runners in boys Class AAA earn medals and Jensen finished 19th, clocking in at 18:16.
“I’m extremely happy for Brooksy,” said a smiling Coach Pender. “We were really rooting for him to get that medal. It’s a great way for him to close out his high school career.”
As a team, Honesdale wound up in 8th place overall. Dallas sewed up a Class AAA sweep by holding off Lackawanna League champion North Pocono to cop the crown.
Sean Burke, a senior from Abington Heights, was the race winner. He broke the tape in a time of 16:35.
Burke was chased in by: Aaron Wilkinson (Valley View, 16:45); Dominic De-Luca (Dallas, 16:53); Jake Siegal (Tunkhannock, 17:02); Chris Ehret (Dallas, 17:14).
For the Hornets, sophomores Mark Tetonis and Cooper Zurad each carved out a spot in the Top 50.
Tetonis was the second Red & Black runner across the line, finishing 45th (19:06). Zurad placed third in the HHS pecking order (49th, 19:14).
Rounding out Honesdale’s line up were: Stephen Tolerico (58th, 19:23); Greg Senft (59th, 19:28); Ryan O’Keefe (63rd, 19:34); Logan Miller (70th, 19:56).