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BY JEFF FALK

EPHRATA – You always want more. But when you haven’t gotten enough, when you haven’t gotten your fill, you want more, even more.

On a warm Tuesday afternoon at Ephrata Middle School, Cedar Crest extended its COVID-19-shortened season by finishing second at the annual Lancaster-Lebanon League Cross Country Championships. Placing three runners in the top ten, the Falcons amassed 61 team points to finish as the runner-up behind league champion Hempfield.

Needing to finish among the top two to qualify as a team for the District Three Class AAA meet at Big Spring High School on October 31st, junior Ryan Wolfe showed the way for head coach Brandon Risser’s harriers. Wolfe covered the hilly 3.1-mile course in 16:41.5 to finish fifth overall, while junior teammate Luke Hinegardner came in eighth and senior mate Tommy Bildheiser finished tenth.

Tuesday’s performance was just another in a long line of outstanding efforts at the Lancaster-Lebanon League meet for Cedar Crest. It marked the fifth year in-a-row that the Falcons came in either first or second at the league championships.

During the regular season, Cedar Crest had finished third behind Section One champion Hempfield and runner-up McCaskey.

“Our regular season has been 22 days,” said Risser. “They’ve (his competitors) trained and trained and trained. But racing is different. This was our fifth race and our first big-time competition. We took a big step forward today. In the year of COVID, you’ve got to get that next chance.

“Our season was extended by 50 percent today,” continued Risser. “We get 11 more days. We can keep building. We can keep improving.”

“During the whole season, we knew we had the potential,” said Wolfe. “But we didn’t have a single race where we put it all together. We knew we were right up there with McCaskey. We knew coming in we were the underdogs, and we fed off of it.

“It’s been a lot, because we couldn’t have practices over the summer (due to the Coronavirus),” added Wolfe. “We started practicing three weeks before the season started, and it went fast. For some of our guys, this was their first big race.”

Wolfe did an admirable job of hanging with the leaders for about the first mile of the race. But as the run wore on, that pack began to thin out, primarily because of the pace set up eventual winner Graham Thomas of Penn Manor.

Thomas completed the circuit in 16:07.7, some 34 seconds ahead of Wolfe.

“I was right there with those guys,” said Wolfe. “I wish I could’ve hung with them a little longer. I have a good finishing kick.

“The first 400 to 800 (meters) was fast,” Wolfe added. “But it settled in really fast. There were 30-some runners in that first pack. But around the mile mark, it really started to thin out. By the end, the lead pack was maybe six to eight runners.”

“We typically do better in the postseason,” said Risser. “In our sport, the season keeps building and building and building. You can target districts. Today, we had to show up to get to districts. If you’re not on your ‘A’ game early in the season in our sport, it doesn’t matter as much.

“You want to run your best when it matters the most,” Risser continued. “Today was a great effort, but we have a little more left in the tank. We can build off this.”

Wolfe, who only began competing in cross country two years ago as a freshman, finished tenth at last season’s Lancaster-Lebanon League championships, a meet that Cedar Crest won as a team.

“I was really striving for top five today,” said Wolfe. “These guys are all so special, we’re like brothers. We work off each other. We (the upperclassmen) just try to lead this team. We’re trying to step up.”

“The season’s been difficult,” said Risser. “It’s hard to build leadership in this environment. It’s hard to build consistency in this environment. But the Lancaster-Lebanon League was very, very good this year.”

Also ‘counting’ for the Falcons were freshman Jake Perhonitch, who ran 14th and junior Ben McElroy, who came in 24th.

Meanwhile, Annville-Cleona senior Jack Tshudy ran a 17:18.4 to finish 16th overall and Elco senior Trenton Brubaker posted a 17:34.3 to finish 18th. Both qualified for the District Three meet in their respective classifications.

“I’m very proud, of all these kids,” said Risser. “With all the adversity and uncertaintity they faced and to get to today, I’m just real proud. And that’s not contingent on the outcome.”

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

Annual Lancaster-Lebanon League Cross Country Championships

(at 3.1-mile Ephrata Middle School Course)

Individual Results

Place Team Place Number Name Year School Time
1 1 2938 Graham Thomas 12 Penn Manor 16:07.7
2 2 2862 Aidan Hodge 10 Hempfield 16:31.7
3 3 2873 Stephen Schousen 12 J.P. McCaskey 16:34.5
4 4 2914 Tyler Stevens 11 Manheim Township 16:37.2
5 5 2816 Ryan Wolfe 11 Cedar Crest 16:41.4
6 6 2866 Dale Winand 11 Hempfield 16:59.1
7 7 2859 Evan Eshleman 12 Hempfield 17:01.5
8 8 2812 Luke Hinegardner 11 Cedar Crest 17:01.6
9 9 2860 Joseph Fahrney 10 Hempfield 17:06.6
10 10 2810 Tommy Bildheiser 12 Cedar Crest 17:06.8
11 11 2867 Ben Blough 10 J.P. McCaskey 17:09.0
12 12 2871 Alex Miller 12 J.P. McCaskey 17:12.6
13 13 2882 Colin Whitaker 9 Lampeter Strasburg 17:15.7
14 14 2814 Jake Perhonitch 9 Cedar Crest 17:16.9
15 15 2870 Lachlan McClane 11 J.P. McCaskey 17:17.1
16 16 2805 Jack Tshudy 12 Annville-Cleona 17:18.4
17 17 2955 Anthony Solis 10 Solanco 17:28.4
18 18 2831 Trenton Brubaker 12 Eastern Lebanon Coun 17:34.3
19 19 2880 Parker Stoner 10 Lampeter Strasburg 17:36.8
20 20 2861 Sam Freedman 9 Hempfield 17:42.0
21 21 2937 Lou Lindsley 12 Penn Manor 17:43.4
22 22 389 Hunter Gehman 11 Donegal 17:44.7
23 23 2876 Adrian Elia 11 Lampeter Strasburg 17:50.9
24 24 2813 Ben McElroy 11 Cedar Crest 17:53.4
25 25 2960 JH Mertz 11 Warwick 17:54.1
26 26 2912 Braden Schuyler 12 Manheim Township 17:54.3
27 27 390 Logan Fry 12 Donegal 17:56.0
28 28 2889 Daniel Myers 12 Lancaster Catholic 17:56.1
29 29 388 Brock Overlander 12 Donegal 17:57.0
30 30 2958 Jake Forgione 10 Warwick 18:00.5
31 31 2864 David Jackson 12 Hempfield 18:02.6
32 32 2935 Kaleb Kabakjian 9 Penn Manor 18:03.4
33 33 2910 Luke Papadimitrio 10 Manheim Township 18:03.7
34 34 2865 Christopher Titter 10 Hempfield 18:07.9
35 35 391 Sam Rothstein 11 Donegal 18:08.8
36 36 2913 Colton Schwartz 11 Manheim Township 18:11.9
37 37 2815 Miles Weber 12 Cedar Crest 18:14.7
38 38 2952 Avery Jacobsen 11 Solanco 18:16.3
39 39 2869 Jonah Keener 10 J.P. McCaskey 18:18.2
40 40 381 Emmanual Gitnoga Contestoga Valley 18:18.9
41 41 2834 Camden Marquette 9 Eastern Lebanon Coun 18:19.4
42 42 385 Tyler Slingluf Contestoga Valley 18:20.6
43 43 382 Timothy Gitnoga Contestoga Valley 18:22.0
44 44 2809 Mohamed Abd Elalim 12 Cedar Crest 18:23.9
45 45 384 Adam Harris Contestoga Valley 18:25.1
46 46 2881 Luka Vranich 11 Lampeter Strasburg 18:26.6
47 47 387 Micah Aldrich Contestoga Valley 18:28.5
48 48 2908 Dylan DelVecchio 9 Manheim Township 18:30.9
49 49 2934 Jeremiah Hetrick 11 Penn Manor 18:33.9
50 50 2830 Landen Brubaker 10 Eastern Lebanon Coun 18:34.3
51 51 2936 Maxwell Kreitzer 12 Penn Manor 18:36.3
52 52 2956 Wyatt Tomison 9 Solanco 18:37.6
53 53 2877 David Pritchard 11 Lampeter Strasburg 18:40.6
54 54 2888 Mason Moore 11 Lancaster Catholic 18:43.5
55 55 2854 Zane Kauffman 10 Garden Spot 18:44.9
56 56 2836 Jason Whelan 11 Eastern Lebanon Coun 18:45.2
57 57 393 John Spackman 10 Donegal 18:45.5
58 58 392 Noah Hinkel 9 Donegal 18:46.7
59 59 2839 Garrick English 12 Elizabethtown Area 18:46.9
60 60 2915 Aaron Wood 10 Manheim Township 18:48.2
61 61 2840 Nathan Johnson 11 Elizabethtown Area 18:49.4
62 62 2835 Nathan Sanchez 11 Eastern Lebanon Coun 18:49.8
63 63 383 Dante Valasco Contestoga Valley 18:51.1
64 64 2878 Luke Smith 9 Lampeter Strasburg 18:52.0
65 65 2886 Patrick Hyrb 12 Lancaster Catholic 18:54.5
66 66 2918 Damien Fiore 11 Northern Lebanon 18:55.9
67 67 2963 Colby Richard 11 Warwick 18:56.0
68 68 2855 Alan Krock 10 Garden Spot 18:59.8
69 69 2906 Brady Knier 12 Manheim Central 19:01.2
70 70 2857 Alex McFalls 12 Garden Spot 19:05.5
71 71 2848 Thomas Petrecca 12 Ephrata 19:07.1
72 72 2907 Zeke Ruffner 11 Manheim Central 19:10.8
73 73 2932 Isaac Braegelman 10 Penn Manor 19:11.9
74 74 2872 Theron Plumb 11 J.P. McCaskey 19:13.3
75 75 2964 Summit Smoker 9 Warwick 19:13.9
76 76 2849 Devon Robertson 12 Ephrata 19:20.0
77 77 2905 Michael Greenwald 11 Manheim Central 19:21.8
78 78 2852 Dakota Cox 12 Garden Spot 19:23.2
79 79 2962 William Perez 11 Warwick 19:24.2
80 80 2875 Nathan Eberly 12 Lampeter Strasburg 19:25.5
81 81 386 Joey Castronova Contestoga Valley 19:33.2
82 82 2950 James Hartigan 10 Solanco 19:35.6
83 83 2819 Colin Knepper 11 Cocalico 19:36.8
84 84 2911 Liam Rockwell 10 Manheim Township 19:38.1
85 85 2933 Aiden Gerlach 9 Penn Manor 19:38.5
86 86 2845 Miles Campbell 10 Ephrata 19:38.7
87 87 2858 Finn Wenrich 11 Garden Spot 19:40.1
88 88 2904 Bailey Garman 11 Manheim Central 19:40.7
89 89 2887 Cooper Linkey 11 Lancaster Catholic 19:44.4
90 90 2923 Tyler Meyer 11 Northern Lebanon 19:46.1
91 91 2922 Ayden Krall 11 Northern Lebanon 19:50.0
92 92 2961 Logan Mull 11 Warwick 19:50.6
93 93 2959 Jonathan Martin 12 Warwick 19:53.0
94 94 2856 Josiah Martin 11 Garden Spot 19:55.0
95 95 2924 Sam Bishop 11 Octorara 19:56.3
96 96 2891 Alex Sheaffer 9 Lancaster Catholic 19:58.8
97 97 394 Ethan Steck 12 Donegal 20:00.8
98 98 2847 Aaron Hershberger 11 Ephrata 20:02.8
99 99 2942 Zach Donlen 12 Pequea Valley HS 20:03.6
100 100 2837 Nate Barnhart 12 Elizabethtown Area 20:03.6
101 101 2802 Vincent Krall 12 Annville-Cleona 20:04.7
102 102 2919 Matthew Getz 12 Northern Lebanon 20:06.5
103 103 2804 Noah Safford 12 Annville-Cleona 20:08.8
104 104 2944 Dustin Huber 12 Pequea Valley HS 20:09.8
105 105 2841 Nicholas Mascia 9 Elizabethtown Area 20:11.0
106 106 2868 Henry Clapper 10 J.P. McCaskey 20:16.3
107 107 2940 Cameron Beiler 10 Pequea Valley HS 20:20.4
108 108 2820 Austin Krantz 10 Cocalico 20:21.4
109 109 2853 William Culbert 11 Garden Spot 20:22.3
110 110 2823 James Brady 10 Columbia 20:23.6
111 111 2843 Kyle Valentine 10 Elizabethtown Area 20:25.2
112 112 2951 Joey Hartigan 11 Solanco 20:28.8
113 113 2806 William Tshudy 11 Annville-Cleona 20:29.6
114 114 2851 Colby Simes 11 Ephrata 20:31.8
115 115 2827 Aiden Miller 10 Columbia 20:32.7
116 116 2928 David Jones 10 Octorara 20:38.2
117 117 2842 Shane Moran 10 Elizabethtown Area 20:43.3
118 118 2890 Owen Postlethwait 10 Lancaster Catholic 20:43.8
119 119 2920 Zach Herb 11 Northern Lebanon 20:44.7
120 120 2824 Owen Broome 10 Columbia 20:50.4
121 121 2921 william hillegas 9 Northern Lebanon 20:51.8
122 122 2833 James Henry 11 Eastern Lebanon Coun 20:55.8
123 123 2902 Logan Burkholder 12 Manheim Central 20:58.7
124 124 2900 Nicholas Bair 12 Manheim Central 20:58.9
125 125 2897 Caleb Metzler 10 Lancaster Mennonite 21:02.0
126 126 2901 Judah Bruckhart 11 Manheim Central 21:06.5
127 127 2954 Mason Sinclair 12 Solanco 21:12.0
128 128 2850 Emmanual Santiago 11 Ephrata 21:14.5
129 129 2917 Benjamin Brassart 11 Northern Lebanon 21:16.5
130 130 2930 Connor Nuckols 10 Octorara 21:18.8
131 131 2927 Kai Johnson 9 Octorara 21:26.5
132 132 2884 Joshua Bertz 10 Lancaster Catholic 21:31.8
133 133 2822 Tyler Wenrich 11 Cocalico 21:38.8
134 134 2926 Connor Jeffries 11 Octorara 21:40.5
135 135 2846 Owen Grube 9 Ephrata 21:41.4
136 136 2895 Remi Mackay 9 Lancaster Mennonite 21:42.5
137 137 2838 Ethan Cronin 9 Elizabethtown Area 21:46.9
138 138 2899 Robert Ross 10 Lancaster Mennonite 21:52.4
139 139 2931 Lucas Thaler 10 Octorara 21:54.3
140 140 2894 Ethan Kanagy 10 Lancaster Mennonite 21:55.9
141 141 2929 Don Kline 10 Octorara 22:12.5
142 142 2953 Sean Keller 12 Solanco 22:14.4
143 143 2946 Liam McGinley 11 Pequea Valley HS 22:22.6
144 144 2832 Wesley Doll 9 Eastern Lebanon Coun 22:27.8
145 145 2817 Tyler Barnett 10 Cocalico 22:33.0
146 146 2947 Adam Reber 9 Pequea Valley HS 22:40.8
147 147 2808 Alex White 12 Annville-Cleona 22:41.6
148 148 2801 Alex Brimmer 11 Annville-Cleona 23:04.7
149 149 2803 Azriel Merjudio 12 Annville-Cleona 23:57.5
150 150 2829 Tim Powell 10 Columbia 23:58.5
151 151 2821 Kaden Lehman 10 Cocalico 24:19.5
152 152 2893 Aiden Grambau 11 Lancaster Mennonite 24:45.7
153 153 2896 Henry Martin 10 Lancaster Mennonite 24:56.2
154 154 2826 Mitchell Dishongh 10 Columbia 25:41.3
155 155 2898 Jacob Ripperger 9 Lancaster Mennonite 26:13.1
156 156 2943 Ryan Flaim 10 Pequea Valley HS 26:29.7

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