Dalton, Reinhard head to Hershey
While two young but up and coming Emmaus cross country teams competed at last Wednesday’s District 11 Championships, a pair of veteran runners took part in their final high school meet in the Lehigh Valley.
The Hornets finished fourth as a team in the boys and girls competitions. Each team had just one senior running and several younger harriers who could make Emmaus one of the top teams over the next three years.
Senior Abby Dalton led the Hornet girls team with an eighth-place finish, which was good for her fourth top 10 finish in a district meet in her four years of high school.
“I was running first for about half the race,” said Dalton, who ran the Bethlehem Municipal Course in 20:12 last week at districts. “After that I could not keep up that pace. I feel behind and the rest of the race I kept track of where I was and I was determined to get a medal and make it to states. So I just kept trying to beat as many people as I could and sprint at the end.”
Dalton heads to the state meet for the fourth time in her varsity career. She will cap a stellar career on the biggest stage high school cross offers in this state.
“As a senior you always want to see them finish up on that high note,” said Emmaus cross country head coach Dan Wessner. “She’s been around for four years and been at the top for us since day one.”
Another Hornet runner that’s been around for four years is senior Charlie Norelli, who was Emmaus’ fourth boys runner across the finish line in 30th place at 18:02 last week.
“I definitely hoped I’d get to states by senior year, but I’m proud to be part of the team,” said Norelli. “It’s overall been a wonderful experience getting to do something I enjoy with a lot of like-minded people that enjoy the sport.”
Norelli has been part of the Emmaus boys team’s top five since his freshman season.
“He’s been one of our varsity runners and one of the top three or five for the four years,” said Wessner. “He’s been the rock for a lot of that time that we kind of built around over the course of his career.”
The Hornet boys team was led by sophomore Mason Brown, who finished in 21st place in 17:42.81, just one place out of earning a trip to Saturday’s state meet in Hershey.
“I think I ran a pretty good race,” said Brown. “I’m pretty happy with my season.
“I know I can do it next year so that’s going to make me push myself even harder in the offseason to put more miles in.”
Brown improved on a 33rd-place finish at districts in his freshman season and is only going to get better over the next two years.
“Mason’s come on at the end of the year,” said Wessner. “He did the same thing last year. Not just him, a couple of freshmen and the top five for the boys as a whole.
“He’s a worker and he likes running. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s going to keep progressing.”
Emmaus freshman Keshav Shankar (24th, 17:50) was the next Hornet across the finish line, followed by freshman Tristan Schmidt (25th, 17:51), Norelli and sophomore Paul Petre (38th, 18:14) rounding out the top five. Sophomores Jacob Brown (47th, 18:31) and Mark Magee (60th, 18:50) also ran at districts.
In the girls race, freshman Kera Reinhard finished 17th in 20:55 to earn a trip to this weekend’s state meet.
“I’m really excited,” said Reinhard. “I never expected to make it to states.”
Reinhard, who earned the final state qualifying place in the girls race, has been her team’s No. 2 runner in almost all its regular season meets. She follows in the footsteps of Dalton, who ran at states in her first season.
“Anytime you get there, and when you do it first year as a freshman, it’s just tops off the season the right way,” said Wessner.
Emmaus junior Abby Heilenman came just three places away from making her second straight trip to states, finishing 20th in 21:06. Junior Edna Creelman (24th, 21:23) was the four Hornet across the finish line in the girls race, followed by freshman Clara Kennedy (30th, 21:44) rounding out the top five. Junior Amanda LaVana (48th, 22:27) and Marley Wait (60th, 23:20) also ran for Emmaus at districts.
Easton won both Class 3A team titles at districts, edging Parkland 46-61 in the boys meet and topping the Trojans 56-79 in the girls meet.
Emmaus finished fourth in girls with 99 points, not far behind Stroudsburg in third place with 91 points.
The Hornet boys team as fourth with 138 points, while Stroudsburg had 95 points in second place.
“I’m real happy with both sides,” said Wessner. “The girls were only eight points out of third and 20 points our of being that second team to go to states. We have to be patient knowing we have a young and inexperienced team, the potential is there. It would have been great to jump ahead a year.”
Individual winners in Class 3A were Easton’s Lauren Madison (19:30) in the girls race and Southern Lehigh’s Colin Cramer (16:30) in the boys race.