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Running collectively is easier than running alone. The Palmyra Cougars ran as a pack Saturday at South Hills Park, winning both the boys and girls cross country meets at the Lebanon County High School Championships.

It marked the first experience in the county championships for first-year Cougars head coach Dave Hollen, who joined the school this season after time at Lower Dauphin. The vacancy was filled due to the departure of long-time coach Barb Mellinger, who resigned after last season.

"Expected, yeah" Hollen said of the girls' championship. "Maybe we could have had a few more girls up there to push this. I'm really pleased with their performance even though there wasn't a strong team competition."

Palmyra had seven runners cross the finish line first in the girls meet, with Kelsei Bixler topping the competition with a time of 21:20.99. Elizabeth Keck, Sarah Hollen,Ameiia Baldo, Julia Plato, Katie Keck and Emily Cowfer followed right behind Bixler.

"I was pretty relaxed actually," Bixler said of her mindset going into the meet. "I just wanted to stay together with some teammates and motivate each other. We're all really close and we're with each other all the time."

Bixler stated she hopes to gain a new personal record for this season and get her time to under 19 minutes, along with medaling in districts and states.

"She just gets strong and stronger as the year goes on," Hollen explained of the girls' top runner. "That's her thing, she likes big meets. She likes the pressure of succeeding, really competitive. Those top five girls are really competitive, everybody who ran today, even JV were really competitive."

The Palmyra girls finished with an average time to 21:58.01, beating out Cedar Crest by over two minutes (24:21.32).

Elco senior Jared Harnish took first in the boys run, defeating his closest competitors by over 30 seconds. Harnish posted a time of 17:18.34, ahead of Lebanon's Derin Klick (17:47.33) and Palmyra's Kevin Colebert (17:51.51) and Derek Wadas (17:57.54).

Although Harnish and Klick rounded out the best results in the boys meet, Palmyra was victorious again as a team, matching the girls championship with one of their own. The Cougars' depth on their roster is second to none in the county and it came to fruition Saturday afternoon. Hollen's group placed five runners in the top ten – Colebert, Wadas, Brad Blasyzniski, Matthew Brandt and Garrett Funk.

"Kevin and Derek are so strong and so steady up front," Hollen said. "Brad Balyzniski, too. Those three have been solidly our top three so far. We can count on them to always be real steady. That next group, the guys who are 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 are always pushing each other. Garrett Funk was our fifth kid today and he always finishes so hard. Matt Brandt is a steady, consistent performer."

Boys Results

Team scores

1.Palmyra 31, 2. Elco 88, 3. Annville-Cleona 92, 4. Cedar Crest 96, 5. Northern Lebanon 123, 6.Lebanon 125

Individual results

1. Jared Harnish (Elco) 17:18.34, 2. Derin Klick (Lebanon) 17:47.33, 3. Kevin Colebert (Palmyra) 17:51.51, 4. Derek Wadas (Palmyra) 17:57.54, 5. Caleb Wenger (Annville-Cleona) 18:09.83, 6. Brad Blaszyniski (Palmyra) 18:12.55, 7. Ryan McAllister (Elco) 18:13.94, 8. Matthew Brandt (Palmyra) 18:23.37, 9. Anthony Franttarole (Annville-Cleona) 18:24.82, 10. Garrett Funk (Palmyra) 18:31.16, 11. Kyle Nolan (P) 18:31.18, 12. Jared Richard (P) 18:45.45, 13. William Fellows (NL) 18:46.03, 14. Quinten Pemberton (CC) 18:48.76, 15. Daryl Werni (L) 18:54.99, 16. Klayton Adams (NL) 18:55.66, 17. Doyle Shertzer (AC) 18:56.50, 18. Alec Richard (P) 19:06.01, 19. Luke Clarkson (CC) 19:15.14, 20. Nick Blandy (CC) 19:21.96, 21. Dylan Mehler (CC) 19:33.15, 22. Devyn Stump (CC) 19:49.53, 23. Justin Cruise (CC) 19:57.68, 24. Lucas Wampler (CC) 20:06.17, 25. Hunter Hartranft (E) 20:11.36, 26. Jared Weaver (E)20:23.00, 27. Nick Felty (CC)20:38.40, 28. Alex Kudlanov (NL) 20:42.83, 29. Grant Brubaker (E) 20:52.16, 30. Hayden Taylor (AC) 20:57.05, 31. Ethan Fortuna (AC) 21:07.81, 32. Matt Snyder (NL) 21:23.60, 33. Devin Root (L) 21:36.80, 34. Jarrett HUber (NL) 21:46.93, 35. Sterling Hetrick (E) 22:05.44, 36. Matthew Hoffman (L) 22:06.49, 37. Dante DiAngelis (NL) 22:12.52, 38. Devin Tipton (NL)22:21.09, 39. Matthew McDaniels (L)22:25.53, 40. Aaron Zurick (E) 22:45. 37, 41. Jaco Beidler (NL) 22:51.85, 42. Preston Ceravalo (AC) 23:19.87, 43. Shelby Bauer (AC) 23:57.62, 44. Dereck Bosworth (AC) 24:52.65, 45. Julio Liriano-Sena (L) 24:55.12, 46. Vito Heck (E) 25:59.70, 47. Brandon Velez (L) 27:34.14

Girls Results

Team scores

1.Palmyra 15, 2. Cedar Crest 59, 3. Elco 91, 4. Annville-Cleona 96

Individual results

1. Kelsei Bixler (Palmyra) 21:20.99,2. Elizabeth Keck (Palmyra) 21:36.92, 3. Sarah Hollen (Palmyra) 21:39.99, 4. Ameiia Baldo (Palmyra) 22:23.55, 5. Julia Plato (Palmyra) 22:48.57, 6. Katie Keck (Palmyra) 22:52.69, 7. Emily Cowfer (Palmyra) 23:01.60, 8. Pam Wuori (Cedar Crest) 23:05.51, 9. Juliana Kerper (Palmyra) 23:20.29, 10. Sarah Domencic (Annville-Cleona) 23:29.10, 11. Olivia Hains (CC) 24:10.54, 12. Gwyneth Davis (CC) 24:19.30, 13. Hannah McCurdy (CC) 24:54.73, 14. Brenna Troutman (E) 25:04.26, 15. Taylor Laliberte (CC) 25:16.49, 16. Charley Darkes (NL) 25:19.58, 17. Hannah Rich (E) 25:21.99, 18. Drashti Patel (NL) 25;53.87, 19. Grace Keppley (CC) 26:42.39, 20. Maddy Hartman (L) 27:12.06, 21. Zoe Sweigert (AC) 27:20.91, 22. Maddie Mattern-Cortes (L) 27:22.11, 23. Shaylin Yourman (NL) 27:45.17, 24. Jalissa Nolt (E) 27:50.57, 25. Danielle Nelson (E) 28:10.08, 26. Angela Fair (AC) 28:54.16, 27. Regan Logdahl (E) 29:25.24, 28. Damaris Kreiser (L) 29:28.24, 29. Megan Werni (L) 29:57.94, 30. Erin Ditzler (NL) 30:25.66, 31. Zoee Garis (AC) 30:46.86, 32. Amanda Rhoades (AC) 34:58.16, 33. Lydia Fair (AC) 35:03.54

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