Before the season began, there was no question that the Chambersburg girls cross country team would make a push as one of the top programs in the area.
With its top three runners returning, including the area's best, and a pair of promising freshman, the Trojans were ready. But a nagging injury to Abby Yourkavitch briefly brought those plans to a standstill, as the area held its breath wondering if the distance-running phenom would make it back to the front of the pack this season.
But at the Bulldog Invitational on Saturday - her first invitational of the season after missing the first two weeks to injury - Yourkavitch didn't disappoint.
She crossed the finish line in 18:32 to win the 3A race, out-kicking Emily Schuler of Dallastown (18:33), who was on her heels in the final meters. Her first-place finish, along with Kaylee Mowery's sixth place (19:17), and Cadie Kiser at 15th (19:04) aided Chambersburg in a fifth-place finish in the elite race, besting 22 other teams entered.
“I was really pleased," Chambersburg girls coach Chris Monheim said. "I was a little concerned going into the race because (Yourkavitch) hasn't raced at a big event this season, and she really hasn't done a hard workout, but I'm thrilled to see her look like her normal self.
"Mowery and Kiser had fantastic races, and look to be ahead of where they were a year ago."
Freshman Anna Degrange (66th, 21:28) and Camaryn Ellis (89th, 22:02) were the team's fourth and fifth finishers, respectively.
The Chambersburg boys team placed sixth as top runner Andrew Feldman placed 16th overall with a time of 16:46. Trentin Overcash was the Trojans' No. 2 finisher at 26th with a time of 17:01.
"(Overcash's) goal was trying to break 17, which was almost impossible, but he was darn near close to doing it," Chambersburg boys coach John Ambrosio said. "I'm really proud of the way the guys ran today - they had several goals in mind and they hit almost every single one of them. We exceeded expectations."
Quin Mangan (58th, 17:40), Patrick Zook (75th, 17:52) and Chris Diaz (78th, 17:56) rounded out the top five finishers for the boys team.
Parks claims 2A girls race
Greencastle-Antrim's Taryn Parks won her first big high school invitational in astounding fashion, beating Eastern York's Maddie McLain by more than 10 seconds, boosting the Blue Devils to a fifth-place finish in the 2A girls division.
Lauren Hirneisen placed fourth overall with a time of 19:40 for Greencastle, while Sarah Kimmel placed 15th as James Buchanan's top finisher in 21:18.
A large gap between G-A finishers after Parks and Hirneisen kept the Blue Devils from moving up in the 2A rankings, with the next top finisher, Rebeckah Duvall, placing 41st at 23:74. Cora Cogan placed 61st at 24:58 for Greencastle's fifth finisher.
The Lady Rockets placed 10th overall, with Emily Newman (51st, 24:24), Claire Kriner (56th, 24:39) and Maggie Plessinger (60th, 24:58) rounding out the top 5 finishers for James Buchanan.
The 2A boys results were not available by the time this story was written.