LOWER SAUCON — The strong winds that swept across Lehigh's University's Goodman Campus Friday morning may have knocked down a few power lines on Hawk Mountain but there was no power outage on the course during the District 1 Boys Class AAA Cross Country Championships thanks to Spring-Ford High's Paul Power.
The Rams' steady junior posted a time of 15:36 on the 5K course and that was good enough to earn him a 10th-place medal and a berth in next Saturday's PIAA Boys' Class AAA Championships in Hershey.
"I just tried to stay with the lead pack,' said Power, who is won the gold medal at last week's PAC-10 Championships. "I sprinted out at the beginning and got out O.K. I wanted to say relaxed. I got up to the lead pack of about 15 at the mile mark. I just tried to stay with them as best I could.
"On top of the hill, I was in fourth place. I just didn't have a great kick at the end. I was in fourth and got passed by six guys down the last straightaway. I just didn't have anything left at the end.'
There was little doubt that any school other than West Chester Henderson would win the team title — just as it has done for the last five years. Henderson took first with 58 points — well-ahead of runner-up Conestoga at 159. The Suburban One League accounted for three of the next four places with Council Rock North third, Pennsbury fourth and Bensalem sixth.
Henderson's Tony Russell claimed the gold medal for the second year in a row with a blazingly fast time of 14:59. Council Rock North's Ross Wilson was runner-up at 15:15 and Penncrest's Dan Kazanjian took third with a time of 15:22.
The top five teams qualified for states as teams. The 25 highest-placing individuals not on any of these five teams qualified for next Saturday's meet in Hershey.
Plymouth Whitemarsh's Dan Shalala made sure he was one of them when he came across the finish line in the meet at Lehigh in 20th place with a time of 15:52.
"The start was amazing,' said Shalala, a Colonial senior. "I was out in with the front pack and really felt good. I was still with the front pack at the mile. Then, I slipped back to the second pack and stayed with them. I worked the second mile far better than I did here last week at our league meet.
"I also felt really good in the third mile. Then, on the last straightaway, I passed two guys (Downingtown East's Billy Caldwell and Lower Merion's Jonathan Perlman). My goal was top 30 so that I'd make states. I didn't even think about a goal time.'
The area's other individual qualifiers for next Saturday's PIAA Class AAA Championships in Dauphin County were Upper Merion's Austin Cooper (25th, 15:55), North Penn's Ryan Tung (29th, 15:57) and Perkiomen Valley's Dave Garton (39th, 16:12).