RUNNER OF THE YEAR
Elizabeth Reese, Littlestown: The senior had an excellent season, winning 15 league meets, and capped it off with a fifth-place finish at the YAIAA meet in 20:08, a significant improvement from a year ago when she came in 12th.
This marked a constant pattern of improvement that coach Dan Lawrence has witnessed first-hand since recruiting Reese as a sophomore.
"You just can't say enough about her," Lawrence said. "When she first came out she couldn't run three miles. She challenged herself, motivated herself and did all the right things. She made a total commitment to the sport."
Reese finished the year strong, taking fourth at districts in 20:27, and then placing 46th at states, up from 90th a year ago, in 20:43.
"Liz really had a breakout year," Lawrence said. "She was kind of on the verge last year, but this year she put it all together and was definitely one to contend with."
Kaitlyn Beckham, Fairfield: The junior made some huge strides in her second season at Fairfield, improving from 23rd to eighth at the YAIAA meet with a time of 20:22. She then was the top finisher at districts, claiming third place in 20:20. Beckham capped her year by coming in 62nd at states in 21 minutes flat.
Amanda Gebhart, Delone Catholic: The senior helped lead Delone to an 11th-place finish as a team at districts. Gebhart was her team's top performer, placing 24th in 22:13.
Marisa Madsen, York County Tech: The senior made the most of her third year on the varsity team, winning three meets and setting a new PR of 21:15. The diminutive Madsen, called the "little bulldog" by her coach because of her tenacity, placed 24th at the YAIAA meet.
Victoria Rizzuto, York Catholic: The senior is the first girl in school history to make it to states for four years in a row. Rizzuto came in 13th at districts in 21:25, helping lift the Irish to their fourth-place team finish. Rizzuto ended her career with a 157th-place finish at states.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Jeff Alloway, York Catholic: The Irish finished 11-8 overall, but were unbeaten in Division III, helping Alloway secure his seventh award, six times for his girls' team, in his 17 years of coaching.
After losing standouts Kady Schrann and Taylor Falvey to graduation, Alloway knew this would be a different type of year, and it was.
"I knew we would not have a lot of all-stars, and honestly, it was a total team effort," Alloway said. "Basically we had a top four that we relied on, and after that, it was a revolving door for the fifth and sixth position."
Lone senior Rizzuto led the way for the Irish, and junior Rebecca Sitler, freshman Amanda Falvey, Taylor's little sister, and junior Alexis China were the rest of the foursome.
York Catholic finished fourth at districts for the second straight year, just one point away from third place.
"I really didn't mind this year," Alloway said with a laugh. "Since they switched from the top three teams to the top two to go to states, at least we weren't that one spot away this time."
-- M.C. Helsabeck