The Hanover area will be well-represented Saturday in Hershey for the PIAA Cross Country Championships.
In all, 17 Hanover-area athletes will compete with the goal of bringing home state medals.
Among those 17 are Biglerville sophomore Brady Wilt and Delone Catholic freshman Kate Mowrey. Wilt won the District 3 Class A boys' race with a time of 17 minutes, 14 seconds. Mowrey won the Class A girls' District 3 race with a time of 20:54. Both are looking to become the Hanover area's first individual state champion.
In addition to the individual crown, Delone won the Class A district team title and earned its first trip to the state tournament as a team under head coach Scotty Watt.
"This is special," Watt said. "It was the goal of the girls from the beginning of the season. I thought we had a few runners that might make it individually, but to go as a team kind of surprised me."
It is a surprise he will greatly welcome.
"I told them that you have climbed the mountain," he said. "The mountain was making it to states. You are here now, so take a break, relax and run like blazes."
Wilt and Mowrey are very familiar with the Parkview cross country course. The District 3 meet was held there last week, so they were able to familiarize themselves even more with the course.
Race officials alter the course slightly for the state meet. There is an extra hill that is added about 350 meters from the
"You start off with a flat mile that causes a lot of runners to over-run," Watt said. "Then you have a lot of long, slopy hills. Then they add in that hill at the end. It might only be 150 meters, but it's steep. That is a lot of hills. I think it is a fair course."
The hills may be just the advantage that Mowrey needs.
"She is extremely strong," Watt said. "Her parents are both runners and she makes up a lot of time on other runners because of her ability on the hills. The way they have designed the course, I would say it changes times by 20-30 seconds. That will be a spot where she will make a big move, I think."
Mowrey is not the only female in the Hanover area vying for a shot at a state medal. Fairfield's Kaitlyn Beckham finished second in the District 3 Class A race with a time of 21:02, and Mowrey's teammate, Sarah Bischoff, finished fourth with a time of 21:39.
Wilt cruised to victory in districts, finishing 18 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Last year at districts, Wilt finished in eighth place with a time of 17:31 and he finished 64th at states.
"I know next week the competition will get harder," Wilt said last week at districts. "The goal is to finish in the top 20's."
Wilt is not the only male runner contending for a state title.
South Western's Ryan Hertzog finished fourth in the Class AAA race with a time of 16:48. Littlestown's Xavier Sauvageau also finished in third place in the Class AA race with a time of 16:56. Delone's Nick Poole finished second in the Class A race with a time of 17:42.
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