DOYLESTOWN >> Central Bucks West’s Megan Kolbe has enjoyed her journey north, especially out on the trails.
“I moved here last year so this is only my second time running here,” the Columbia, South Carolina native said after her 3.1-mile race around Lake Galena Wednesday, “but I love it.
“It’s so much more competitive here, which is great — it pushes you. I’m running a lot better — it’s tough competition.”
The Bucks are pushing past that competition unscathed and unbeaten, their wins over Pennridge (24-35) and Souderton Area (20-43) lifting their unbeaten mark in the Suburban One League Continental Conference to 4-0.
“The pack was fantastic,” said Kolbe, who led the Bucks with a third-place finish. “We’re looking to build every meet and have a really good shot at the conference meet.”
The girls’ victories followed up two wins by the West boys, who also improved to 4-0, charging their way to victories over Big Red (24-37) and Pennridge (15-50).
“We’re definitely heading in the right direction,” said Bucks coach Greg Wetzel, who saw his team post numerous time drops, led by a determined Brian Mass (second, 16:12.70). “We’ve had a lot of kids — I wouldn’t say come out of the woodwork — but a lot of kids emerge, kids that we hadn’t depended on before but now are depended on to contribute.
“We’re starting to depend on a lot of new people,” Wetzel said, “and they’re starting to become very reliable.”
The West boys took five of the top seven spots, a gap of just 22 seconds separating their No. 1 and No. 5 runners. The West girls also bunched things together pretty tight, with Kolbe leading the way at 18:52, and then just an 11-second margin between their No. 2 (Katie Jenkinson, 19:41) and No. 5 (Erin Chinnici, 19:52) runners. Piper Wilson, a freshman, was also in the mix, placing seventh in 19:49.
“We’re really putting things together and the pack is improving week by week,” said West coach Kiki Bell. “There were a lot of fast times today.”
Monika Brill continued her strong season, cranking out an 18:37 and pushing the Rams to a 21-36 win over Souderton. The Rams showed a lot of persistence out on the course.
“We were competing today, did a lot of nice things,” coach Bill Smith said. “That, to me, was a step forward. And we’re not done yet.”
Andrew Saville led the Rams on the boys side, placing 11th in 17:09.
Souderton Area had the front runners in both races, with Emily Bonaventure crossing first in the girls race with a winning time of 18:16, and Connor McMenamin posted the fastest time by any competitor, a blistering 15:32.67 around Lake Galena on a crisp, fall afternoon at Peace Valley Park.
“I knew that — since a lot of it was on pavement — I wanted to take it out as hard as possible,” said McMenamin, who pushed Big Red to an 18-39 win over Pennridge.
Big Red, with an 8-2 record overall and a 4-2 finish in the Continental, has raced to its most dual-meet wins since 2005.
“It’s awesome that we have such a great chemistry on the team,” said McMenamin, one of the state’s best. “We’ve really turned it up a notch this year.”
Joe Breen powered his way to a top-three finish, crossing third for Big Red in 16:17.18.
“First decent weather we’ve had — for all the teams. A lot our guys were like ‘did I run that fast?’” coach John Donahue said of the fast times all throughout the lineup. “So it was good to see.”
Coming up, the Souderton boys will have their Twilight Invite at home on Oct. 8, the Pennridge guys host Central Bucks East and Quakertown Wednesday, and the Pennridge and Souderton girls head to the Paul Short Invite Saturday morning.
The CB West boys and girls head to CB South Wednesday for a tri-meet with the Titans and North Penn.
Top Photo: Runners from Pennridge, Central Bucks West and Souderton are still clumped early in the cross country tri-meet at Peace Valley Park on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)