Pottsgrove and Owen J. Roberts runners were joined by enough bugs to fill the Amazon basin for their duel cross-country meet on Wednesday. Annoying issues aside, Pottsgrove defeated the visiting Wildcats 15-48 on the boy's side, while the OJR girls breezed to a 16-45 win.
Coach Larry Rechtin's harriers claimed a dominant victory in the boy's race, with all five scoring runners crossing the line before the Wildcats could respond. The outcome was decided by the first mile, as a Pottsgrove pack took the early lead and never relinquished it.
"We thought we could get five kids to run with their number one," Rechtin said. "That's exactly what they did. They were successful. We put five in before the number one. That was the goal and they did it."
Ian Yanusko paced Pottsgrove, finishing first overall in 17:29. Close behind was Morgan Moonan in 17:34. Mike Rossi (17:38), Josh Toth (17:41) and Evan Cook (17:43) rounded out the top five. Ryan Conway took the top spot for the Wildcats, finishing sixth overall in 17:44.
"We ran ok," said Owen J. head coach Dave Michaels. "We weren't as aggressive in the middle of the race probably as we should be. Honestly, Pottsgrove is a very good team, but I think we're a little better than we ran today. We've trained better than that."
The Cats flipped the script in the girl's race, as the visitors swept the top three spots en route to a decisive win. A light rain began to fall in the beginning of the girl's race, but quickly ebbed, ensuring that they would battle the insects, not the elements. In a near mirror image of the boy's competition, Red and White runners claimed the top four spots on the first lap through the Grove's rolling course and never looked back.
Sarah Taylor was the first runner to complete the 5k course, hitting the chute in 21:38. Teammates Natalie Burges and Alex Wood were right behind her, finishing in 21:47 and 21:55, respectively. Kelsey Lloyd was the first Falcon to finish, placing fifth in 23:28. Kaitlyn Wagner (23:54) and Rowan Meadow (24:08) took second and third for the Grove.
"They ran well," Michaels said of his girls. "We had our top group run together, and work on the course. Work on the hills. We kind of knew our top girls are fairly strong, and we just wanted them to work together for the two and a half miles, and then it was up to them whether they were going to push real hard or just bring it up together."
Both teams look to use the conference duel to prepare themselves for the future.
"I think they should just keep getting competitive," Rechtin replied when asked what the Falcons could improve upon. "Getting to be competitive with the front end runners, and set their goals to beat other people. It's a matter now of just getting the wins and where we need to be."
"We've got some big meets coming up," Michaels said.