BETHLEHEM — There were smiles as well as determined looks as the Haverford High boys assembled at their team tent following the District 1 Class 3A Cross Country Championships Friday.
The Fords, who earlier this month captured the school’s first Delaware County boys championship, placed fourth in the district team race and earned the opportunity to compete as a team at the PIAA Championships in Hershey next Saturday.
“This group has a lot of talent, and I’m very happy for them,” Haverford head coach Harry Green said.
Junior Mike Donnelly, the Delaware County champion, led the Fords’ effort with a seventh-place finish, 11 seconds behind winner Cole Walker of Unionville and nine seconds in back of Payton Sewall, who helped Downingtown West to its second consecutive team title.
“We’ve been working toward this for three seasons,” Donnelly, who had the second-fastest time turned in by a Haverford runner on the Lehigh course (15:45). George Walton set the school record as a senior in 2006.
“I knew I wanted to be out with the leaders, then I had to adjust as things happened. I think we know we can run better than we did today, and we’ll have the chance to do that next week.”
Haverford finished fourth in the team competition behind Downingtown West, Unionville, and Council Rock South. Central Bucks East and Owen J. Roberts rounded out the top six, followed by West Chester Henderson, Great Valley, and Penncrest.
Among the individuals joining the Fords at the state meet will be Penncrest junior Patrick Theveny, who finished 13th, and his sophomore teammate Ben Klinger, who was 43rd, as well as Radnor’s Ethan Zeh (17th) and Garnet Valley’s Sean Garrett (38th).
Theveny came within 2.5 seconds of a top 10 finish.
“I wanted a good start,” Theveny said. “And I felt good out there. Next week I want to run an even bigger race.”
Klinger, who had a personal-best time of 16:50, came across the line in 16:13 Friday.
“I wasn’t really expecting that I would get to states,” he said. “When I caught some people as we were getting closer to the end, I started thinking maybe I did have a good shot at making it.”
Zeh, who was runner-up to Haverford’s Donnelly at Delcos by two seconds, finished in 15:57. Garrett fell two places short of qualifying for the state meet in 2017.
“I’ve been waiting a year for the chance to run up here again,” he said. “I just wish my teammate, Chris Rudawsky, also could have made it to states.
“We stayed together up through the second mile, then I really started running after we hit the cornfield. It was a good feeling crossing the finish line knowing I had a chance (to be a qualifier) this year.”
• • •
In the 1A race, senior Ryan Schaafsma was Delco Christian’s top finisher, placing 29th. His sophomore teammates, Michael Rhine and Bobby Zhu, were 44th and 45th. Chester Charter School for the Arts freshman Antwaan Speights took 47th place.
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