The Palmyra girls' cross country team has already had a season for the ages and it's not even over yet.
The Cougars continued to add to an already extensive collection of 2012 championships on Saturday, capturing their second straight Mid-Penn title during the annual conference meet at Big Spring High School.
Led by sophomore Maria Tukis' fifth-place finish in 19:31.45 on the 3.1-mile course, Palmyra totaled 70 team points to outdistance nearest challenger Cumberland Valley by 17 points. State College was third with 109 points.
The runner-up Eagles actually took the first two individual places, with Mady Clahane winning in 18:48.55 and Carol Strock checking in right behind in 18:57.77.
But the Cougars negated those strong performances with their usual depth advantage, claiming three of the first nine spots thanks to Tukis, Olivia Farabaugh (eighth, 19:53.86) and Miranda Salvo (19:54.96) and five of the top 31 with assistance from Laura Duquette (17th, 20:18.98) and Devin Strynkowski (31st, 20:42.15).
It wasn't easy, but it was well worth it.
"It was hard," said a proud Palmyra coach Barb Mellinger. "I tweeted that it felt like a battle. It was really tough, but that made it sweeter."
The triumph was made even more enjoyable by the fact that the Cougars captured another Mid-Penn crown despite the fact that one of its normal top five runners, Mariah Ricci, was
But Strynkowski stepped into the void and picked up that slack, much to the delight of Mellinger.
"You can do it with five people, but we needed seven," she said. "Devin stepped up, she sure did."
And if the Cougars can turn in a similar performance to the one they produced Saturday at the District Three Class AA meet later this month, yet another championship trophy could be making its way to Palmyra.
"The way they ran today was really impressive," said Mellinger. "They were racing with 150-percent effort. They're not afraid to leave it all out there. It's neat to watch a group work like that."
Meanwhile, the Palmyra boys turned in a 13th-place finish behind Calvin Conrad-Kline's 14th-place individual finish in 16:56.87. Hershey won the team title with 96 points, and Vincent Todaro of Big Spring was the individual champ in 16:11.59.