York Suburban boys' cross country narrowly misses PIAA title
HERSHEY >> York Suburban boys' cross country assistant coach Dan VanHouwe gathered the Trojans together to break the news that they had placed second in the PIAA Class AA state championship race, just eight points behind champion Dallas on Saturday.
Several players dropped their heads, a few of their eyes welling with tears, because they missed their season-long goal of repeating as state champions. VanHouwe tried to pick them up, reminding them that second is still something to be proud of, but that hardly lightened the spirits of his runners who are so accustomed to winning.
A few minutes later, Trojans coach Ron Herman gathered together every York Suburban runner - in uniform or not - who would be running next season. He told them to remember how this moment felt, and told them about his 2008 team, which came up five points shy of a state title yet used the failure as motivation to win the crown the following season.
"That's what I call coaching forward," Herman said. "Never stop. That's why I pulled all the guys that will be here next year together and told them to, 'imprint this on your heart, how this felt, because it's not very good.'"
The Trojans' narrow defeat marked the third time they've been state runner-ups. Senior Donovan Mears led the team with a 15th-place finish, and Bryce Ohl provided a 34th-place finish. Dallas, out of District 2, placed three runners in the top 35.
"They ran a great race," Herman said of Dallas. "They ran great, we ran OK. They had an A day, we had a B day. We just didn't run our best. That's the way it goes. To win a state championship you have to run your best."
York Suburban only loses Mears and Quentin Schorr to graduation, meaning almost the entire squad will return next year looking for vengeance.
Greene accomplishes top-10 goal
As Will Greene crossed the finish line, he yelled "yes" multiple times, pumping his fists with each exclamation.
The Delone Catholic senior placed eighth in Class A and couldn't stop smiling even 15 minutes later, as he returned to his team tent and hugged his family, teammates and coaches. He ran the course in 16 minutes, 44 seconds, more than 20 seconds better than his time on the same Hershey course earlier this season.
"It was just the most electric feeling," Greene said of his finish. "This is something I've been working so hard for, so to finally do it in my last cross country race of my high school career, it's just a relief. I'm just so grateful."
Greene started out way off the front pack and in about 40th place after the first mile, but worked his way up into the top-20 by the two-mile marker and into the top-10 by the finish.
"At that point I just kept going, reminding myself that my goal was top-10," he said. "As I was rounding one of the last turns I knew I had a chance, so I just went for it and I got it."
Greene hopes to continue running cross country in college next fall.
"The ride's over today, but it ended up in a good destination."
Filler also cracks top-10
As Gettysburg senior Dan Filler approached the first mile marker in the Class AA race, one thought crossed his mind.
"What are we doing?" he thought as he saw the timer, which read 4:44 -- a significantly faster first-mile pace than he's accustomed to. Filler likes to try to get to the front of the pack in the first mile, and spent the first stretch of the state championship race trying to keep pace with eventual champion Dominic Hockenbury of Lake-Lehman.
"I've raced Hockenbury before and I know he's the kind of guy who goes out as hard as he can in the beginning, so I guess I should've been expecting that a little bit but it was still kind of a shock," Filler said.
The quick start got to Filler as the race went on, and he dropped a few spots before finishing 10th. The placement earned him his second-straight state medal and his first top-10 finish.
"It's a championship race, so it's hard to let the front pack move on without you," he said. "Who knows what would've happened if I had just gone out at my normal pace."
Other YAIAA finishers settle in the top-200
All three of the boys races featured at least 225 runners, and YAIAA qualifiers largely managed to finish in the top half of their respective races.
Three Adams County boys placed between 108 and 136 in Class AA, with Biglerville's Daniel Wood earning spot No. 108, Bermudian Springs' Chad Long earning spot No. 110 and Littlestown's Michael Bittinger earning spot No. 136.
In the Class AAA race, Dallastown's Patrick Jacobson placed 125th and Red Lion's Micah Bodisch placed 161st.
In Class A, York Catholic's Evan Schlosser placed No. 100.