RUNNER OF THE YEAR
Kaylee Kubisiak, New Oxford: Kaylee Kubisiak followed up a solid junior season by peaking at the right time, topping rival Lily Corsaro of York Suburban to win the YAIAA championship. Kubisiak finished in 19 minutes, 4 seconds, an improvement of 40 seconds from a year ago when she placed fourth.
This was the third year that coach Colby Frantz got to work with Kubisiak, and he will certainly miss his star runner.
"The first time I met her we ran the Spirit of Gettysburg 5K, and I knew right then she had potential," Frantz said. "She had a lot of talent, worked really hard and learned a lot over the four years."
Last year Kubisiak had to deal with a hamstring injury, but this year it was full speed ahead. Kubisiak lost one race all season, to Corsaro four days before the YAIAA meet.
Kubisiak improved significantly in every big meet this season: from fourth to first at the YAIAA meet; from 11th to sixth at districts; and from 61st to 17th at states. She also placed sixth at the Carlisle Invitational and fifth at Big Springs, and won the Don Stoner Invitational in Maryland with a PR of 18:58.
"We set some goals, and she met them all," Frantz said. "This year she was not only a workhorse, she also became a leader. She accomplished everything she wanted to this year.
Brooke Amandola, Red Lion: The senior was running for her second season and finished strong, taking fourth at the YAIAA championship in 20 minutes flat, up two spots from last year. Amandola took 17th at districts in 20:09, improving on last year's 82nd-place finish, and placed 125th at states. She also started the year by taking seventh at Carlisle and 13th at the Peter Geraghty Invitational. "She goes out with the feeling that she is going to win every single race," coach Nate Stetter said. "She's got that competitive drive and she kind of led by example."
Julia Kendrick, Red Lion: The freshman, a soccer player by trade, took the league by storm with a stellar rookie campaign. Kendrick placed seventh at the YAIAA meet in 20:17, then finished 28th at districts in 20:23. "She definitely surprised me, and I think she surprised herself a little bit, too," Stetter said. "I knew we had something when I watched her during the track sessions in the preseason."
Emily Loeffelholz, Central York: The sophomore had a solid season for the Panthers, capping it off with an 11th-place finish at the YAIAA meet in 20:43. She placed 52nd at districts in 20:53.
Megan Lundy, Central York: The senior placed sixth at the YAIAA meet in 20:15, then helped Central York to a 10th-place finish at districts by placing 36th in 20:34, up from 55th a year ago.
Naomi Scharf, Red Lion: The junior stepped up another level this season, placing 12th at the YAIAA meet in 20:43 and 54th at districts in 20:56. "She has a lot of potential, and each year she brings out her competitiveness a bit more," Stetter said. "Her training has gotten stronger and she has progressed every year."
COACH OF THE YEAR
Nate Stetter, Red Lion: It was quite a year for Red Lion, which rolled to an 18-1 record and the Division I title. The Lions lost only one meet, to York Suburban, helping Stetter claim this award.
The Lions were led by senior Amandola, but got a nice boost from Kendrick and a solid season out of Scharf.
"Our top three were strong, but it was a total team effort," Stetter said. "Brooke was a leader, but Julia was close behind her at a lot of races. I think they pushed each other."
Stetter said he had a number of runners battling for the No. 4 spot, which helped the team in the long run. The squad went on to a 12th-place finish at districts, the best ever for the Red Lion girls.
-- M.C. Helsabeck