Elco's Harnish leads Lebanon County cross country effort at districts
Jared Harnish has had quite the cross country season. And it's not over yet.
The Elco standout added to an already memorable senior season on Saturday, placing a strong fourth in the District Three Class AA Championships at Big Spring High School.
Harnish, who covered the 3.1 mile course in 16:13, was one of three Lebanon County runners to earn a berth in next weekend's PIAA State Championships at Hershey's Parkview Course.
Joining Harnish will be Palmyra's Kelsei Bixler, who was 15th in Girls AAA, and Cedar Crest's Jesse Cruise, who raced to a 19th-place finish in the Boys AAA meet.
Bixler clocked a 19:24 while helping Palmyra place 12th in the team standings, and Cruise was timed in 16:32 for the 13th-place Falcons.
"(Big Spring) is not my favorite course, I like Hershey a lot better but I was able to work through it today," said Bixler, the county girls champ, who also qualified for states last year. "It's going to be hard going to states without my team but I hope they continue to practice with me so I can be my best in Hershey."
Team-wise, the county's top performers were the Palmyra boys, who took sixth in the AA competition. Senior Matthew Brandt led the way, placing 30th in 17:30.
The story of the day from a Lebanon County perspective, though, was Harnish, who followed up a win at the county meet in September and a seventh-place effort at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Championships last week with a top five performance on Saturday.
His time of 16:13 was just fourteen seconds off the winning pace of Wyomissing's Jack Di Cintio, who broke the tape in 15:59.
Nathan Henderson of McCakey was the boys AAA champ in 15:38, while Cooper Leslie of Camp Hill won the boys Class A race with a time of 16:21.
Girls winners were Mady Clahane of Cumberland Valley (AAA, 17:55), Maddie Ferner of Kennard Dale (AA, 19:07), and Jordan Haberstroh of Columbia (A, 19:15).