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BY JEFF FALK

EPHRATA – Don’t think about the kids who finished in front of him. Focus on the number of runners who finished behind him.

Not only was it a matter of perspective, it was also a matter of relevance.

On a picturesque Tuesday evening at Ephrata Middle School, Lebanon High’s Caleb Hershey ran a rewarding and remarkable third at the Lancaster-Lebanon League Cross Country Championships. Of the 174 competitors in the boys’ race, only winner Aidan Hodge of Hempfield and Colin Whitaker of Lampeter-Strasburg came in ahead of Hershey.

Hershey’s third-place showing was not only the Cedars’ best in recent memory, it was also one of Lebanon’s finest performances at the league meet ever. But while it was the highlight of the day for the contingent of local student-athletes competing at the L-L League Cross Country Championships, it wasn’t the only one.

Cedar Crest senior Ryan Wolfe finished sixth among competitors in the boys’ race, and he teamed with fellow senior Luke Hinegardner to pace the Falcons to a fourth-place showing in the team competition, behind only champion Hempfield, runner-up Manheim Township and Lampeter-Strasburg.

On the girls’ side, Annville-Cleona senior Braetan Peters enjoyed the best Lancaster-Lebanon league race of her career and took home 11th-place hardware.

But certainly the local story of the day was Hershey, who was clocked in 16:33.8. Hershey’s time was 22 seconds off the winning pace set by Hodge and 15 ticks slower than Whitaker.

“I’m happy. It was a good finish,” said Hershey. “The only guy who beat me in the league was Hodge, so I thought it would probably be between him, me, Colin and Tyler (Stevens of Hempfield). If you would’ve told me at the beginning of the season that I was going to finish third at the league meet, I would’ve been happy.

“I started running in the seventh grade, and I was pretty good,” continued Hershey. “But not up to the level of this competition. This year I made a huge jump in training. I had a decent track season (in the spring), but not as good as this cross country season.”

Following a bit of a slow start, Hershey worked his way up to the lead group. He competed gamely with Hodge and Whitaker, before the two began to create a working margin ahead of Hershey.

“I’m not a good sprinter, but I eventually caught up with the front guys,” said Hershey. “Then I tried to stay with Whitaker and Hodge as long as I could. I was just trying to hold on. Every once in a while I’d peak over my shoulder to see where Stevens was.

“I’d like to finish in the top ten, the top fifteenish at districts, maybe higher,” added Hershey. “Maybe qualify for states. Medaling at states would be awesome.”

Peters, the reigning District Three Class A champion, had not shown well at the Lancaster-Lebanon League cross country champions the last two years. While yesterday’s performance was much better, the Little Dutchmen 12th-grader was hoping for a little more than her time of 20:46.0.

“I’ve never run a real good race here,” said Peters. “This is as well as I’ve run. My sophomore and junior races didn’t go quite as planned.

“I was looking to run mostly in the 19s and stay in the lead pack,” added Peters. “That’s what I was hoping for today.”

Peters was in the lead pack with eventual winner Isabella Shertzer of McCaskey which missed the first flag about a third of a mile into the race. While the pack recovered relatively quickly, it cost them a handful of meters in distance and even more in seconds on the clock.

Shertzer’s winning time was 19:47.2, about a minute faster than Peters’.

“I’m a little disappointed,” said Peters. “There were six of us who missed the first flag. That threw us off. Then I was trying to play catch-up. I definitely think it affected my finish and time. I was on a roll and it changed my trajectory around. We were in a zone.

“I was really looking forward to this,” Peters continued. “I don’t usually get to run with the (Class) AAA girls. I knew who the girls in AAA were and I wanted to run with them. I was looking forward to competing with them.”

To purchase images in this article please email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

2021 Lancaster-Lebanon League Cross Country Championships

(at Ephrata Middle School)

Boys’ Results

  1. Hempfield (3)
    1 5 9 14 18 (19) (36) = 47
    Aidan Hodge, Joseph Fahrney, Sam Freedman, Isaiah Hollinger, Emerson
    Long, Sam Meyer, Christopher Titter
  2. Manheim Township
    4 10 13 15 16 (20) (21) = 58
    Tyler Stevens, Jacob Mathers, Luke Papadimitrio, Adam Kingston, Cole
    Stevens, Colton Schwartz, Aaron Wood
  3. Lampeter Strasburg
    2 7 8 26 28 (30) (61) = 71
    Colin Whitaker, Adrian Elia, Ben Devine, Parker Stoner, Luka Vranich,
    David Pritchard, Luke Smith
  4. Cedar Crest
    6 11 24 27 42 (46) (48) = 110
    Ryan Wolfe, Luke Hinegardner, Ben McElroy, Jake Perhonitch, Owen
    Sparks, Ben Causak, Viseth Meng
  5. Warwick
    17 32 33 47 53 (85) (91) = 182
    Jake Forgione, JH Mertz, Summit Smoker, Colby Richard, Troy Weidler,
    Logan Mull, William Perez
  6. Annville-Cleona
    22 35 49 74 89 (99)(119) = 269
    Jahmar Gonzalez- Al, Landon Hostetter, Chase Watson, Matt Clemson,
    Andrew Dorsey, Jacob Mills, William Tshudy
  7. Penn Manor
    23 25 59 68 95 (130)(134) = 270
    Kaleb Kabakjian, Jeremiah Hetrick, Aiden Gerlach, Isaac Braegelman,
    Carter Vinson, Gabriel Sullivan, Ethan Sauder
  8. Donegal
    12 34 73 79 84 (113)(120) = 282
    Samuel Rothstein, Hunter Gehman, John Spackman, Dylan Lenhart, Braden
    Bistline, Brandon Marcelo, Zachary Karpel
  9. Solanco
    38 39 40 80 90 (147)(150) = 287
    Wyatt Tomison, Avery Jacobsen, Anthony Solis, James Hartigan, Joey
    Hartigan, Curtis Hills, Michael Eisenberger
  10. J.P. McCaskey
    29 43 56 66 115 (124) = 309
    Theron Plumb, Sam Richard, Derek Kendig, Jonah Keener, Jose Deoleo,
    Max Wiggins
  11. Octorara
    45 54 69 81 106 (140)(144) = 355
    Lucas Thaler, Finley Reynolds, Sam Bishop, Jared Hodorovich, Domenick
    Sutton, David Jones, Conner Capotrio
  12. Lebanon
    3 64 88 101 104 (110)(116) = 360
    Caleb Hershey, Gavin Sheetz, Ivan Velazquez, Carter Troain, Brendan
    Shaak, Tyler Long, Jonathan Beltran
  13. Conestoga Valley
    44 50 52 86 128 (139) = 360
    Emmanuel Gitonga, Tyler Slingluff, Timothy Giitonga, Joseph Castronova,
    Lynton Wambui, Jordan Craighead
  1. Lancaster Catholic
    37 62 63 100 102 (131)(135) = 364
    Mason Moore, Cooper Linkey, Alexander Sheaffer, Grant Hall, John
    Bridgen, Danny Hoover, Owen Postlethwait
  2. Eastern Lebanon County
    31 70 75 96 97 (132)(136) = 369
    Camden Marquette, Nathan Sanchez, Jason Whelan, James Henry, Chad
    Keller, Wesley Doll, Grant Liskey
  3. Northern Lebanon
    41 57 82 83 109 (122)(142) = 372
    Ayden Krall, Benjamin Brassart, Tyler Meyer, Tyler Shunk, Aidan
    Bertrand, Zach Herb, Kenneth Battistelli
  4. Elizabethtown Area
    51 77 78 103 105 (111)(143) = 414
    Dalton Fink, Jaysen Conrad, Nathan Johnson, Jackson Kay, Ethan Cronin,
    Nathan Merlo, Nathan Gubbins
  5. Garden Spot
    58 60 92 94 117 (118)(141) = 421
    Alan Krock, Josiah Martin, William Culbert, Thomas Watt, Finn Wenrich,
    Evan Graham, ASHTON MARTIN
  6. Ephrata
    67 72 76 87 133 (137)(146) = 435
    Miles Campbell, Tristan Hart, Cayden Landis, Tanner Eshleman, Lance
    Wilson, Benjamin Burkey, Martin Sweigart
  7. Lancaster Mennonite
    55 71 107 114 126 (127)(151) = 473
    Caleb Metzler, Ethan Kanagy, Shane Harmer, Savier Samrall, Remi Mackay,
    Aidan Grambau, Jared Bowman
  8. Manheim Central
    65 98 108 123 145 (149) = 539
    Michael Greenwald, Carter Bruckhart, Cameron Evans, Judah Bruckhart,
    Anderson Pilsner, Logan Forrest
  9. Cocalico
    93 112 121 125 129 (138)(148) = 580
    Austin Krantz, Tyler Wenrich, Cyprus Rohrer, Colin Knepper, Dylan
    Koehle, Derrick Wenrich, Tate Renaud

Girls’ Results

PlaceNameTeamTime
1Isabella ShertzerMcCaskey19:47
2Elena BarrallManheim Township19:51
3Ava ShirkManheim Township20:04
4Ella HartelWarwick20:07
5Milana BreuningerMcCaskey20:08
6Ella WolfeHempfield20:21
7Claire ThomasLancaster Mennonite20:24
8Kathryn FernaldDonegal20:32
9Madison KimmelEphrata20:35
10Abby AmesPenn Manor20:38
11Braetan PetersAnnville-Cleona20:46
12Sidoney FreemanWarwick20:52
13Molly SiebertHempfield20:54
14Alexa WengerWarwick20:56
15Macyn FoglemanManheim Township21:07
16Emma BaxterSolanco21:08.4
17Jordan DiRisioElizabethtown21:08.8
18Bailey ShoafDonegal21:13.3
19Avery EbersoleManheim Township21:13.8
20Paige ReeserCocalico21:14
21Sarah RussoManheim Township21:15
22Lizzie LoweCedar Crest21:16
23Gabrielle ThiryMcCaskey21:16
24Aubrey MagagnaLampeter-Strasburg21:26
25Isabel ZwallyElco21:28

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