BETHLEHEM >> The Jenkintown boys cross country team chased down its first ever district title Friday on a windy morning at Lehigh University.
“It’s awesome. Our whole team put in so much work since the first day of the season,” said the pack’s leader, Jack Miller. “That’s what we worked for and we got it.”
The Drakes packed five runners in the top nine, claiming the District 1-A crown. Their score of 25 points out-distanced them from their closest competition, Dock Mennonite Academy, which earned runner-up honors with a score of 59.
“I think the difference was our guys putting in so much hard work throughout the season and over the summer,” Miller said of his team’s jump from third a year ago to first this season. “Just getting out every day and going for a run…We worked super hard and we reached our goal.”
Miller ran a tremendous race, hammering Lehigh’s flat course in 16 minutes, 39 seconds to earn second. Then came Joshua Jackson (16:59) and Jamail Khan (17:32) in third and fourth, and Ethan Walters (18:12) and Charles Mangan (18:28) pushed themselves to seventh and ninth.
In what has been a back-and-forth battle, the only runner to outrace Miller was Dock’s Tim Kennel, who crossed first in 16:21.
“The rivalry’s been there all season — he beat me by two seconds at Hershey and I beat him by one or two seconds in a couple races and he came out real well (Friday),” said Miller, one of three runners to finish under 17 minutes, along with Kennel and Jackson. “He ran a great race. I was looking to beat Tim but it didn’t happen — I ran close to my P.R. and that’s all I could do.”
Next week, the rivalry continues. And for the first time in their history, the Drakes will be tackling the hills in Hershey as a team.
“We’re all excited,” Miller said. “It should be a good experience and hopefully we all run good times.”