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EPHRATA – If one is the loneliest number, then two is the most emotionally ambiguous.

So close to the top, you can almost taste it. So far ahead of the rest of the pack, it’s a distinction.

On a cool Tuesday afternoon at Ephrata Middle School, during the annual contesting of the Lancaster-Lebanon League Cross Country Championships, male and female harriers from Cedar Crest were forced to ponder the power of ‘2’. While the Falcon boys ran second as a squad in the team standings, Cedar Crest sophomore Gwyneth Young finished second in the girls’ individual race.

Both competitions could’ve gone either way.

IMG_9575Young covered the hilly 3.1-mile course in 18:45.8, just about four seconds off Elizabethtown’s Katie Locker’s winning time. With sophomore Tommy Bildheiser and freshman Luke Hinegardner showing the way, the Cedar Crest boys’ compiled a team score of 109 points, a total that was surpassed only by champion Warwick’s 95.

Among the boys, Northern Lebanon’s Gage Krall, who came in eighth, was the top individual finisher from Lebanon County.

“It says something to consistently be towards the top, right there with the best teams in the Lancaster-Lebanon League,” said Cedar Crest head coach Brandon Risser, whose boys finished as runners-up at the league meet for the third straight year. “It’s a statement to the commitment of the kids in the program. They do all we ask of them. They’ve got to live the lifestyle of this sport. When race day comes, there’s a lot of variables.

“We’ve been up and down this season,” continued Risser. “We’ve had some really good meets and we’ve had some head-scratchers. We know we’re as good as anyone in the L-L. Warwick executed better than us today.”

“I’m happy I got second, but I’m looking forward,” said Young. “Next year I’m going to come back and go for it. I was sick (recently), but I had to race today. Today was my comeback race.”

“I was with her (Locker) the entire time,” added Young. “She had a kick at the end, I didn’t. It’s something I’m working on.”

IMG_9705It didn’t take long for Young and Locker to distinguish themselves from the rest of the 150-girl field.

They went out fast and hard together, and established a size-able cushion. By the midway point, it was apparent that one or the other would finish first.

But over the final 200 yards, Locker was able to out sprint to the tape.

“The first mile was quick,” said Young. “It didn’t feel like a mile. On the second mile, I started feeling it a little bit. On the third mile, I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to kick it in and go.’

“I went out too fast,” Young continued. “But I’m going to learn from her (Locker’s) run, because it was a really good run.”

“It’s tough,” said Risser. “She’s (Locker) a sub-five-minute miler. Gwyneth Young is a two-miler. Hats off to Gwyenth for attempting it, for going for it. She did not back down.”

“It’s (Young’s development) been awesome,” Risser added. “She discovered a tremendous gift. The biggest compliment I can give her is that she’s so coach-able. She’s a fierce competitor. She wants to be the best Gwyneth Young she can be.”

Young’s outing helped Cedar Crest finish sixth in the team standings, a competition that was captured by Manheim Township. Young was supported by teammate Shayla Bonzelet, who ran 15th.

Lebanon County champion Lily Brubaker, a senior out of Elco, took 13th.

“I wanted to cut all of my places in half,” said Young of her goal for the league meet. “I got tenth last year, and I wanted to be  in the top five.

“This season, I wanted to win one meet,” continued Young. “I thought that going into every meet, and I won four of five. I was third at the Big Spring Invitational and sixth at the Carlisle Invitational.”

IMG_9709“Shayla’s (Bonzelet) more of a track kid,” said Risser. “But she’s a junior captain. The younger girls look up to her.”

Behind Bildheiser and Hinegardner, D.J. Laliberte, Ben McElroy and Ryan Scicchitano scored for the Falcons. Copping local medals – in addition to Krall, Bildheiser and Hinegardner – were Elco’s Cole Nelson and Mitchell Gray, who were 16th and 19th respectively.

“They’ve been pretty consistent,” said Risser of Bildheiser and Hinegardner. “If it hasn’t been Tommy leading the way, it’s been Luke leading the way. They feed off each other. I thought Tommy ran a great race and I thought Luke ran a gutsy race.”

“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” said Krall, who competed in both soccer and cross country for Northern Lebanon last fall. “I had an opportunity to gauge myself against others. This was my first time out here with some of the top guys.

IMG_9667“I just wanted to do my best, and let God take care of the rest,” added Krall.

Krall ran on the cusp of the lead pack for most of the race. He was clocked in 16:40, a time that was just off his personal best, and one that was about 44 seconds faster than the one he was running last year.

Krall was the first non-senior to cross the finish line. Conestoga Valley 12th-grader Nathan Brucelski won it in 16:15.2.

“It (the race) started slow, but getting out i knew I had to be in the top ten,” said Krall. “At the 800 mark, it felt really slow. Then one kid went out hard and everyone went with him. Towards the end, there was this guy I was trying to stay with. But it was good competition.


“Coming in I was thinking top ten or top five,” added Krall. “I just wanted to come out and run.”


















IMG_9620To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

















IMG_9605Annual Lancaster-Lebanon League Cross Country Championships

 (at 3.1-mile Ephrata Middle School Course)

Boys Results

Top 25 Individuals, and Lebanon County finishers

1. Nathan Grucelski (CV) 16:15.2, 2. Evan Dorenkamp (MT) 16:17.0, 3. Andrew Foster (Eph) 16:18.3, 4. Ian Miller (MT) 16:19.2, 5. Logan Horst (LM) 16:26.7, 6. Noah Martin (Warwick) 16:39.1, 7. Connor Shields (W) 16:39.8, 8. Gage Krall (NL) 16:40.5, 9. Tommy Bildheiser (CC) 16:46.1, 10. Graham Thomas (PM) 16:53.6, 11. Evan Kreider (Coc) 17:00.6, 12. Luke Hinegardner (CC) 17:02.6, 13. Max McCormack (Coc) 17:06.8, 14. Justin Rittenhouse (Hemp) 17:07.3, 15. Nathan Yoder (Lancaster Mennonite) 17:07.6, 16. Cole Nelson (Elco) 17:07.7, 17. Erik Juengling (McCaskey) 17:08.5, 18. Parker Keares (Warwick) 17:08.5, 19. Mitchell Gray (Elco) 17:08.7, 20. Jansen Miller (LS) 17:10.5, 21. Jotham Ngarma (Lanc. Cath) 17:11.5, 22. Ray Truex (Eph) 17:12.0, 23. Carson Hepner (MC) 17:12.6, 24. Ben Stickler (Solanco) 17:13.6, 25. Jeremy Bell (W) 17:15.9. 27. DJ Laliberte (CC) 17:23.8, 30. Ben McElroy (CC) 17:30.8, 31. Ryan Scicchitano (CC) 17:32.8, 37. William Sheffield (CC) 17:38.5, 38. Jake Barrett (CC) 17:38.6, 40. Evan Blymier (L) 17:41.7, 42. Jordan Berger (NL) 17:45.9, 46. Levi Brooks (Elco) 17:49.6, 49. Riley Klick (L) 17:51.3, 53. Dominique Smith-Rodriguez (CC) 17:56.7, 58. Caleb Hershey (L) 17:59.7, 60. Jack Tshudy (AC) 18:04.5, 77. Isaac Showers (L) 18:36.5, 78. Owen Showers (L) 18:37.6, 89. Matthew Sweinhart (Elco) 18:53.2. 101. Trenton Brubaker (Elco) 18:59.3, 105. Brandon Bombeger (NL) 19:06.9, 109. Ethan Fortuna (AC) 19:09.0, 114. Owen Sheetz (L) 19:15.7, 117. Neil Waldhausen (AC) 19:19.7, 122. Matthew Hoffman (L) 19:32.0, 129. Gavin Knox (AC) 19:47.6, 132. Vincent Krall (AC) 19:50.3, 137. Ayden Krall (NL) 19:58.6, 138, Jacob Beidler (NL) 19:58.7, 147. Hunter Bailey (Elco) 20:21.8, 148. Michael Stefanchik (AC) 20:23.6, 149. Matthew Tinto (NL) 20:26.2, 150. Ben Fortuna (AC) 20:30.1, 152. Tyler Meyer (NL) 20:32.2, 155. Sam Buckwalter (Elco) 20:44.4, 156. Zach Bender (Elco) 20:46.3, 157. Angelo Bracero (L) 20:48.8,
Team Results
1. Warwick 95, 2. Cedar Crest 109, 3. Manheim Township 112, 4. McCaskey 157, 5. Hempfield 176, 6. Ephrata 245, 7. Cocalico 259, 8. Penn Manor 261, 9. Elizabethtown 262, 10. Elco 263, 11. Conestoga Valley 264, 12. Lebanon 296, 13. Lancaster Catholic 353, 14. Manheim Central 369, 15. (tie) Lancaster Mennonite, Northern Lebanon 402, 17. Solanco 416, 18. Lampeter-Strasburg 434, 19. Garden Spot 495, 20. Annville-Cleona 518, 21. Donegal 527, 22. Octorara 681

Top 25 Individuals, and Lebanon County finishers
1. Katie Locker (Et) 18:41.6, 2. Gwyneth Young (CC) 18:45.8, 3. Cat Shontz (Et) 18:57.5 4. Madeline Quinn (Et) 19:20.0, 5. Mary Campbell (Eph) 19:40.8, 6. Anna Martin (W) 19:53.5, 7. Alyssa Fedorshak (Eph) 19:53.6, 8. Anabelle Lapp (MT) 20:04.9, 9. Chloe Kline (MT) 20:19.1, 10. Caitlyn Wagner (W) 20:20.4, 11. Olivia Sunderland (MC) 20:22.7, 12. Sophia Nau (W) 20:24.6, 13. Lily Brubaker (E) 20:29.3, 14. Arielle Breuninger (McC) 20:29.9, 15. Shayla Bonzelet (CC) 20:30.4, 16. Delaney Minder (H) 20:31.1, 17. Rebecca Cassidy (Oct) 20:31.3, 18. Alexandra Slingluf (CV) 20:31.8, 19. Lauren Zink (PM) 20:32.0, 20. Micah Gordley (LS) 20:34.4, 21. Hannah Steckbeck (LM) 20:37.8, 22. Rachel Fernald (D) 20:41.1, 23. Lexi Roe (Eph) 20:43.7, 24. Sierra Kapcsos (ET) 20:47.6, 25. Hadley Shoaf (D) 20:50.0, 32. Braeten Peters (AC) 21:09.4, 34. Emily Williams (Elco) 21:14.9, 43. Elizabeth Vila (CC) 21:37.8, 68. Brenna Chernich (CC) 22:25.7, 71. Mia Reigert (CC) 22:30.3, 76. Mary Tshudy (AC)  22:45.9, 79. Emily Dietz (AC) 22:50.9, 95. Avery Atkins (CC)23:39.1, 109. Bridget Bozeman (Elco) 24:13.7, 114. Megan Tobias (AC) 24:34.9, 116. Kaylin Nolt (Elco) 24:39.4, 117. Olivia Cheslock (NL) 24:43.8, 134. Lorenza Mannino (AC) 26:08.3, 138. Julia Underkoffler (Elco) 26:30.1, 139. Kaitlin Zook (Elco) 26:44.7, 143. Kiley Morgan (AC) 27:33.3, 148. Alyssa Clark (AC) 30:07.0, 149. Katelyn Tipton (NL) 32:20.6
Team Results
1. Manheim Township 105, 2. Elizabethtown 117, 3. Warwick 124, 4. Hempfield 184, 5. Ephrata 194, 6. Cedar Crest 199, 7. Conestoga Valley 200, 8. Donegal 206, 9. Penn Manor 239, 10. Manheim Central 257, 11. McCaskey 285, 12. Lampeter-Strasburg 290, 13. Octorara 306, 14. Annville-Cleona 366, 15. Lancaster Catholic 374, 16. Elco 383, 17. Lancaster Mennonite 394, 18. Garden Spot 443, 19. Solanco 465.


























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