The cross country teams at Elizabethtown Area High School had separate challenges to face during their fourth Section Two meet of the season. The girls were undefeated at 6-0 but were also dealing with the loss of key junior runner Kate Weissend to injury for the season. Meanwhile, the boys were looking to turn things around after a 2-4 start to the year. By the end of the event, both were able to walk away with their heads held high.
First, Elizabethtown had several of its runners take part in the Carlisle Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 29, with the boys team competing in the second-tier champions division and the girls running in the high-tier challenge division. Both were able to finish in the top 20 of the team standings, as the boys placed 14th and the girls were 17th.
Junior Jesse Myers had the team high for the boys, taking 34th in a time of 17:24.0. Three more runners placed in the top 100 out of 426. Sophomore Garrick English (92nd) and junior Alex Hartman (93rd) finished side-by-side in 18:02.0, while freshman Nathan Johnson wasn t too far behind at 99th with a time of 18:08.0. Senior Nat McCloud was 106th with a time of 18:12.0. Other Bears runners included junior Dustin Sauder (253rd, 19:28.0) and sophomore Nate Barnhart (273rd, 19:38.0).
For the girls, senior Cat Shontz (14th, 19:03.0), junior Katie Locker (18th, 19:14.0) and sophomore Madeline Quinn (23rd, 19:20.0) all finished in the top 25. Elizabethtown was one of just four schools to have more than one runner in that group, the others being Blacksburg, West Chester Henderson and Padua Academy. The remaining Lady Bears runners consisted of senior Jessie Lloyd (201st, 23:35.0), junior Camille Donahue (214th, 24:14.0) and senior Brooke Nicodemus (215th, 24:15.0).
The Bears traveled to Manheim Township on Tuesday, Oct. 2, to take part in a three-way meet with the Blue Streaks and Lebanon as well. The final results for both races were extremely close, but the Elizabethtown girls and Manheim Township boys escaped with 2-0 wins.
For the fourth straight meet, Locker (first, 19:07.0), Shontz (second, 19:09.0) and Quinn (third, 19:16.0) took the top three spots in the girls race. However, Manheim Township captured every placement from fourth to seventh and 10th to 21st. It came down to a ninth-place finish from Kapcsos (21:46.0) to secure the victory for Elizabethtown, though only by two points. The Lady Bears remain perfect at 8-0.
The Blue Streaks saw two of their runners finish in first and second on the boys side, while Lebanon had a runner in fifth. Myers (17:17.0) placed third for the Bears, and McCloud (fourth, 17:22.0), English (sixth, 17:34.6) and Hartman (seventh, 17:34.9) all finished in the top 10 as well. Johnson (18:04.0) was also 11th, but Manheim Township used placements in the eighth, ninth and 10th spots to narrowly win by a single point. The Elizabethtown boys are now 3-5 on the season.
Both teams are next scheduled to return home on Tuesday, Oct. 9, to host Conestoga Valley and Cedar Crest in the final regular season meet of the season.