For Gettysburg High freshman Daniel Filler, Saturday's Mid-Penn Conference Cross Country Championships at Big Spring High School was about improvement.
The freshman came into the meet with a personal best time of 17:50 over 3.1 miles.
But on a cool and sunny day at Newville, Filler dialed in his best race of the season. With a time of 17:46, he met his goal and then some.
"I ran here for my first race of the season," Filler said afterward. "My time was 19:42. I definitely had more experience coming in this time, and there was a lot more competition today. The last time I ran here, it was just three schools and today it was 29. The more competition there is, the better you typically do because you have more people to push you."
That competition proved to be steep for a Gettysburg boys' team that finished the regular season a perfect 6-0 in the Mid-Penn Colonial Division.
On Saturday, they finished 12th as a team, one spot behind Big Spring, which finished the regular season in third place in the Colonial.
With cool temperatures, Filler ran just the style of race he was hoping for.
"Usually, the first mile is my slowest," Filler said. "Everyone usually runs hard the first mile and, by the second mile, they are dead. I try to pass everyone that second mile and just try to hold it."
On Saturday, he made his way to 59th place with a little more than 400 meters left to go. At that point, it was time to put on the burners.
As his freshman season winds down, Filler is able to reflect a little on his first season.
"I wasn't really expecting the success that I had," Filler said. "I was thinking that I might get top-five on my team, but I have been running about second most of the season and today was able to get first."
His success shouldn't come as a surprise though, as Filler logs approximately 25 miles per week during the season and 40 miles over the summer.
Thomas Buxton was the second Gettysburg runner to cross the finish line in 59th place, only six seconds after Filler at 17:52. Buxton's personal best this season was 17:17.
Jimmy Robison finished 79th with a time of 18:19, and Aaron Waybright was the only other Warrior runner in the top 100, coming in 95th place with 18:37.
The overall winner in the boys' division was Big Spring's Vincent Todaro who finished with 16:11.
In the girls' division, Gettysburg finished 22nd of 27 teams. Their top four finishers all came in within a second of each other to finish 107th-110th, held by Casey Little (23:06), Alexa Wilhelm (23:06), Abigail Fernandes (23:07) and Erin Stephan (23:07).
The overall winner in the girls' division was Cumberland Valley freshman Mady Clahane with 18:48.
email@example.com; 717-637-3736, ext. 143. Twitter: @michaelrubin6.