North Penn runner Ryan Grace pulls ahead of Central Bucks South and Central Bucks West competitors as he crosses the finish in their cross country meet at
North Penn runner Ryan Grace pulls ahead of Central Bucks South and Central Bucks West competitors as he crosses the finish in their cross country meet at North Penn High School on Wednesday, Oct. 9 ,2013. (Mark C Psoras/The Reporter)

The North Penn boys cross country team ran its way to an undefeated dual-meet season and a Suburban One League Continental Conference championship this past fall.

Just about every time out on the course, it was Ryan Grace leading the way.

Chosen as The Reporter's Athlete of the year for boys cross country, Grace was a leader for the Knights all season long, from those hot August practice runs all the way to their conference-clinching title race on a brisk October afternoon at Lehigh University.

"It was a good day for us,' Grace said after the Knights claimed the Continental crown by topping second-place Central Bucks East 49-69. "Everyone ran a pretty solid race.'

The senior's fifth-place finish set a fast pace for the Knights, who managed to cross all five of their runners in the top 17.

"They ran really well against very tough competition,' Knights coach Mike Werner said after his team's finest performance of the season. "We knew Pennridge would be tough but I thought East ran terrific. We were fortunate to come out on top.

"It was incredibly visible, seeing how much closer (our guys) were this time when they crossed the finish line. And Ryan Grace and Ryan Tung have been out in front for us all year.'

Grace and Tung were a tremendous one-two punch, with plenty of kick. For example, the day Grace hammered the final 300 meters on the track in a dual-meet win at Souderton Area.


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"Had a solid kick there,' he said with a smile after the mid-September victory. "There aren't many hills on the course and my legs were feeling pretty good.'

Grace capped off his season by placing 15th at the District One Class AAA Championships with a 15:47, the sixth-fastest time out of Suburban One. The Knights' senior then joined Tung at the PIAA State Championships in Hershey, with Tung placing 58th and Grace crossing 85th.

Tung will return next year for the Knights as a senior. Grace enjoyed his final race on the North Penn home course by racing to a career-best time of 16:15, leading the way to wins over CB South and CB West to cap off an unbeaten season.

It was a day for the North Penn seniors, who expressed their solidarity in the form of matching blue head bands.

"A bunch of us seniors decided we were gonna do something stupid for the last race,' Grace said.

Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10.