SCOTT TWP. – Katie Dammer and the entire Abington Heights girls team repeated as Class 3A champions Oct. 25 in the District 2 Cross Country Championships at Lakeland High School.
And, they made it look easy.
Dammer finished the 3.1-mile course in 19:00.14 to win what was technically a District 2-4 Subregional title because of the inclusion of Williamsport, the lone Class 3A team from District 4. Her time was by far the best in any of the three girls races and her victory margin of 1:24.07 was the largest of the day’s six races.
The Lady Comets beat Wallenpaupack, 36-84, for the team championship, matching Holy Cross in Class A girls for the day’s largest margin of victory.
The titles sent Dammer and her teammates to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships scheduled for Saturday Nov. 4 on the Hershey Parkview Course.
“It really is the culmination of months of work that goes into these 10 days or so,” said Dammer, a Georgetown University recruit who finished seventh in the state in Class 2A in 2015 and sixth in the state in 3A last year.
Even though she was running alone, Dammer did all she could to push herself in preparation for her last state appearance.
“I took it out really hard,” she said. “That was the plan, to practice being uncomfortable in that second part of the race after taking it out hard through the first mile, just like it’s going to be at states.
“I definitely paid for it a little bit in the middle, but you have to practice it if you want to be able to do it. I’m glad that I did it because it’s only going to help me (this) weekend.”
Dammer said she has tried not to do too much “scouting” of the opposition.
“I kind of had to break myself of that habit this year,” she said. “Last year, I got wrapped up in numbers and who’s out there and what they’re doing.
“This year, I really made a conscious effort to focus on myself and not really look at too much online. I know there’s a lot of really strong girls out there and I’m not counting them out, but I’m not counting myself out, either.”
Abby Marion and Hannah Hughes joined Dammer as medalists by finishing fourth and eighth.
Sarah Bath and Emma Marion completed the team scoring in 11th and 12th.
Erika Beahan was 14th and Modupe Osuntokun was 25th out of 53, getting all seven Abington Heights runners in before any other team got its fifth scoring runner to the finish line.
The Lady Comets will not be alone at the state meet Saturday in Hershey.
The Abington Heights boys and Lackawanna Trail girls each qualified two individuals with their placing in the top five among runners not on the championship teams.
Kyle Burke, who won the race in 2016, was second and teammate Dan Uhranowsky was third for Abington Heights in the District 2-4 Class 3A Subregional boys race.
Victoria James and Madison Swanchak were fifth and eighth for Lackawanna Trail in the District 2 Class A girls race.
All four of the individual state qualifiers also earned district medals for their efforts.
Both Burke and Uhranowsky ran in the state meet last year when Abington Heights made it there as a team by winning the Subregional title.
Burke finished in 16:23.18, more than 10 seconds behind winner Tyler Wirth from Wallenpaupack and more than 10 ahead of Uhranowsky.
Ryan Siebecker and Stephen Haggerty finished 14th and 15th and Damon Lee was 22nd for the Comets, who finished second behind Wallenpaupack out of seven teams in the standings.
James earned a return trip to Hershey by finishing in 21:16.05.
With Lexi Walsh winning the title and two teammates joining her in the top seven from team champion Holy Cross, individual runners needed to make the top eight to advance.
Swanchak moved into that position as she entered the final straightaway and finished strong in 21:48.99.
Lackawanna Trail was fourth out of six teams in the standings.
Freshman J.J. Sharpe led the way for the Lackawanna Trail boys, finishing 29th out of 89 runners in the Class A boys race in 19:42.23.
Isaac Vierling added a 39th-place finish for the Lions, who placed seventh out of 12 in the team standings.
Montrose defending its title with the help of an individual win by Brandon Curley.
Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.