Springford’s Paul Power runs to the finish line carrying his right shoe at the PAC 10 Boys Varsity Race. Thursday, October 17, 2013. Photo by
Springford's Paul Power runs to the finish line carrying his right shoe at the PAC 10 Boys Varsity Race. Thursday, October 17, 2013. Photo by Adrianna Hoff/Times Herald Staff. (A Hoff)

Power, runner and stellar — whenever you read those three words in a sentence in a sports article, it's a safe bet that the story is about football. But it's not a foolproof bet — especially if the story concerns Spring-Ford High's Paul Power.

This year, Power established himself as one of Spring-Ford's all-time best distance runners. The Rams' speedy junior was the only area runner to win a medal at the PIAA Class AAA Cross Country Championships and was the top local finisher at the District One Class AAA Cross Country Championships.

In recognition of his accomplishments, Power has been selected as the 2013 Times Herald Boys Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

At the state championship race at Hersheypark's Parkview Cross Country Course, Power crossed the finish line with a time of 16:39 to finish 20th overall.

"The hills at Hershey were tough,' said Power, "but I had already experienced running at states so that helped a lot. I got off to a pretty good start. I was all the way at the end (box) on the start so I knew I wouldn't get trapped. I was up with the lead pack early and then just tried to hold on.

"In the second mile I just tried to stay with the lead pack. I was sixth or seventh at the two-mile and my time was around 10:05.The third mile went great — until the last hill. That hill hurt. Right after the hill about 10 guys passed me. I tried to kick, but my legs were on fire.'


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One week earlier at Lehigh's University's Goodman Campus on Friday, Power posted a time of 15:36 to win a 10th-place medal at the District One Boys Class AAA Cross Country Championships.

"My foot was fine for districts,' said Power. "I had a good race. I just tried to stay with the lead pack. I sprinted out at the beginning and got out OK. I wanted to stay 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 with 800 meters to go and got passed by six guys down the last straightaway. I just didn't have anything left at the end.'

Power's foot could have been a problem after what happened at the Pioneer Athletic Conference Championships at Heebner Park in Worcester.

At the sound of the starter's gun at the PAC-10 meet, the runners took off from the starting line. Then, Power, who was the pre-race favorite, lost his shoe approximately one-tenth of a mile into the race. He continued to run the remaining three miles with just one shoe and finished first with a time of 16:30.

"That was a rough race,' said Power. "My teammate Raghav Jain got pushed into me and almost took my shoe off. It was loose but it had the (timers' scoring) chip in it so I flipped it up to myself. I just grabbed it and didn't want to stop. It never crossed my mind to stop.

Power caught the shoe and carried it (and the chip) in his hand for the remainder of the race — a race over a variety of tough surfaces.

"Looking back, I should have gone off and put my shoe back on right then,' said Power. "On the gravel, my foot hurt a lot. On the grass, it felt fine. I heard five-flat at the mile. I was running hard that first mile because my mile is usually five-flat or a little under. In the second mile, I was trying to push it and build my lead.'

When the race concluded, Power had a gold medal — and a number of blisters.

"With the blisters, I was a little concerned because districts were only a week later,' said Power. "But my mom is a physical therapist and she fixed me up.'

Power also added another gold medal to his collection earlier in the season when he won by a large margin at the Chris Fretz Invitational Cross Country Meet at Perkiomen Valley High School. Spring-Ford's hard-running junior distance ace crossed the finish line first with a time of 15:57 — 47 seconds faster than anyone else in the race.

"This was definitely an over-the-top season for me,' said Power. "All my races were pretty good and the state race was probably the best. It's great knowing that I can push myself even more next year.'

2013 TIMES HERALD BOYS CROSS COUNTRY ALL-AREA TEAMS

COACH OF THE YEAR

Mike Werner, North Penn

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Paul Power, Spring Ford

FIRST TEAM

Austin Cooper, Upper Merion

Dave Garton, Perkiomen Valley

Ryan Grace, North Penn

Paul Power, Spring Ford

Sam Ritz, Germantown Academy

Dan Shalala, Plymouth Whitemarsh

Ryan Tung, North Penn

SECOND TEAM

Matt Aham, North Penn

Brendan Bilotta, La Salle College

Tom Duffy, Methacton

Pat Hopkins, Methacton

Jared Kline, Methacton

Lukas Marcelis, Wissahickon

Andrew Stewart, Upper Dublin

HONORABLE MENTION

Solomon Barth, Perkiomen Valley

Anthony Camasso, North Penn

Matthew Fohner, Archbishop Carroll

Raymond Friend, Perkiomen Valley

Patrick Grant, La Salle

Andy Harman, Wissahickon

Matt Heininger, Spring-Ford

Josh Herman, Germantown Academy

Kyuande Johnson, Wissahickon

Jeff Kirshenbaum, Methacton

Tristan Marcelis, Wissahickon

Sam O'Connell, Upper Dublin

Josh Tupper, Spring-Ford