Central Bucks West’s Maddie Villalba races towards the finish line during the Suburban One League Championships at Lehigh University on Friday, Oct.
Central Bucks West's Maddie Villalba races towards the finish line during the Suburban One League Championships at Lehigh University on Friday, Oct. 18, 2013. (Susan Keen/For The Reporter)

Throughout the race, Central Bucks West's Maddie Villalba could feel that she and her teammates were in the midst of something special.

Shortly after they crossed the finish line, those feelings were confirmed.

As their coaches announced the final score, Villalba and the Bucks got to celebrate a one-point win on the road over rival and perennial power North Penn.

It was quite a way to cap off a tremendous dual-meet season for West.

"We worked really hard so it was good to hear,' Villalba said of she and her teammates gutting out a 27-28 decision. "It meant a lot. Everybody on the team was able to pack really well, which was super important.'

Villalba was super all season for the Bucks.

Chosen as The Reporter's Athlete of the Year for girls cross country, Villalba led the way to a 6-1 season as well as a second-place finish in the Suburban One League's tough Continental Conference. Then, the 10th grader went on to place 11th at districts and earn a state medal at the PIAA Championships.

"We've been working hard for a really long time and it's good to see everything start to pay off,' Villalba said.

In the climactic tri-meet win over CB South and North Penn, Villalba hammered the North Penn course in 18 minutes, 35 seconds, second only to South's Kaitlin Poiesz, who ran an identical 18:35 but just edged West's top runner at the finish line.

For the Bucks, it was a perfect way to cap off a near-perfect season. But actually, they were just getting started.


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"We're really just starting to get into our racing season,' Villalba said eagerly after the pair of wins.

The sophomore was at her best in the postseason.

Villalba placed third at the SOL Continental Championships at Lehigh University, crossing in 18:44, and then a week later she shaved 11 seconds off her time at Lehigh and placed 11th at the District One Class AAA title race.

Villalba's season was completed on the medal stand, as her time of 19:25 earned her a 23rd-place finish at Class AAA States.

Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10.