It's true, and yet a gross understatement.
Both the Cougar boys' and girls' harriers had a day to remember Saturday at the Mid-Penn Conference Championships at Big Spring High School, as senior Connor Strynkowski used an epic finishing kick to capture the boys' individual title and the girls' squad placed four runners in the top 20 en route to snaring the Mid-Penn team championship.
Though the Cougar girls, led by Laura Duquette's fifth-place finish, ended up essentially trouncing the rest of the field by tallying 74 team points compared to runner-up Lower Dauphin's 115, they were almost upstaged by the heroic effort by Strynkowski, who found himself in third place with less than a quarter mile to go in the race.
But with about 300 meters left, Strynkowski, the conference runner-up a year ago, inched up to second place, then completed a mad dash to the finish line by reeling in then-frontrunner and eventual runner-up Jeff Groh of Lower Dauphin in the final stretch to win in 16:42.56. Groh was second, and most likely incredulous that Strynkowski was able to catch him, in 16:45.32.
"He swallowed him up," Palmyra coach Barb Mellinger, recounting the final burst that allowed Strynkowski to chase down Groh. "And that took a lot of heart and guts and senior pride, I think. He earned that title
And despite their apparent lack of a standout individual runner, you can't exclude the Palmyra girls from any conversation about top-flight cross country teams.
The Cougars made that abundantly clear on Saturday, as their top five "counters" finished within 11 places and 1:24 of each other.
Duquette, a junior, led the way by taking fifth in 20:15.86, freshman Maria Tukis was eighth in 20:29.17, junior Mariah Ricci checked in 15th in 20:54.61 and another frosh, Miranda Salvo, was right behind in 16th place with a time of 20:56.09. Sophomore Devin Strynkowski rounded out Palmyra's senior-less top five with a 32nd-place finish in 21:39.81.
"Laura is somehow able to pull the team with her," Mellinger said, praising the Cougars' No. 1 runner on her contribution to the team crown.
Not that Mellinger was discounting the rest of her deep squad's performance. Far from it.
"They run as a unit, they really do," she said. "They believe in each other. It was really fun to watch."
The victory was also a testament to the Cougars' ability to handle adversity, which has come in form of illness and injury, as well as the extremely poor weather conditions that all teams have dealt with this fall.
And if it can handle any more potential troubles for another week and a half or so, they could end their season by achieving their ultimate goal, a trip to the PIAA state meet as a team. The Cougars will get their shot at that goal next Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the District Three meet at Hershey's Parkview Course.
"We've had setbacks (all season), but we've handled them all so far," Mellinger said. "I'm hoping we can handle one more meet. Our goal is to get to states as a team."
Strynkowski obviously has similar aspirations for the boys' portion of the district meet, and given his performance Saturday, seems primed and ready to make a run at that.
"He's as ready as he'll ever be," Mellinger said. "And he knows the course. I'm just hoping the weather (holds out)."