By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
MESHOPPEN – The wait for results to be sorted to see who won the team title was longer than the race itself for some of the participants in Class 2A girls Oct. 28 in the District 2 Cross Country Championships.
But, once those results were available, first-year Holy Redeemer coach Dylan Gearinger made good time.
“Once the results officially got posted, I think that’s the fastest I’ve ever sprinted,” Gearinger said of his run up the hill to the starting line area to join his runners, informing them that it was time to celebrate a district team championship. “There were tears.
“It was an emotional rollercoaster, but that made it more special.”
Holy Redeemer edged Wyoming Valley Conference rival Dallas, 77-79, for the team championship, but Dallas, led by freshman individual champion Madison Hedglin, easily landed the district’s second state berth for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships.
“The fact that we’re going to states, that’s incredible,” Hedglin said. “We’re all really excited.”
Hedglin led the runners around the Wyoming County Fairgrounds course in 19:35.6 and now she will lead a team made up entirely of freshmen and sophomores to the state meet.
“I thought she looked the most nervous I’ve seen her, but I love her confidence for a freshman girl,” said Dallas coach Amy Rome, who expected a five-way battle for the two team berths.
Holy Redeemer and Dallas managed to get a little separation from Valley View, which edged Honesdale for third-place on a sixth-runner tiebreaker.
Hedglin’s win helped and both teams benefitted from depth.
Dallas also had the best finish by a No. 3 runner while Holy Redeemer’s fourth and fifth runners were in before those from any of the other seven full teams.
“It was a full team race,” Gearinger said. “We knew going in that we didn’t have any low sticks like other teams, but we had four in the top 21 and our fifth came in 26th.
“That’s what did it for us.”
Lexie Marcinkowski was ninth and Emily Lehman 11th to lead the Lady Royals. Frankie Basalyga grabbed the last available district medal in 20th and Kyra Hayden was one spot behind her. Abigail McGowan finished it out in 26th.
Hedglin finished second to Class 3A district champion Molly DeMarzo a week earlier in the Wyoming Valley Conference Coaches Ed Narkiewicz Championship Meet on, with the exception of some minor alterations at the end, the same course.
“I learned that I need to push up the hills a little bit more, not go as fast at the start as I did last week, but be up there so I’m not falling back so far that I can’t get up to the lead,” Hedglin said.
Hedglin won by 12.9 seconds in 19:35.6.
Sarah Williams and Olivia Thomas joined her as medalists in 13th and 14th.
Julianna Sobocinski and Makayla Miller completed the five-runner team score in 24th and 35th.
The top 10 individuals from other teams get to join Holy Redeemer and Dallas at the state meet.
With Dallas placing three up front and Holy Redeemer two, it took a top-15 finish to do so.
Jenna Hillebrand from Scranton Prep, the only runner other than Hedglin to break 20 minutes, led that group.
Emily Franklin from North Pocono was third, followed by Lake-Lehman’s Hannah Sayre, Honesdale’s Brenna Dahlgren, Wyoming Area’s Madelyn Keating, Valley View’s Kaitlyn Newberry and Western Wayne’s Madison Kammer, who each finished before Marcinkowski came in to lead the champs.
Keating, the 2020 district champion, earned a return to the state meet in her first outing of the season. She had been sidelined since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in basketball season and ran the race with a brace on her knee.
North Pocono’s Morgan Davis (10th), Lake-Lehman’s Alana Palmaioli (12th) and Scranton Prep’s Riley Matasavage (15th) also advanced to Hershey.
Other medalists were: Carly Schofield from Scranton Prep, Kira Fox from Honesdale and Samantha Adams and Gianna Godino from Valley View.
For full team scores from Class 2A girls, times of all the medalists and results of other races, go to: https://nepasportsnation.com/district-2-cross-country-results/.
To access all coverage for district races and the sport as a whole, visit: https://nepasportsnation.com/fall-sports/cross-country/.