For the Pottsgrove boys it was their winning philosophy of go for the high finish, but also try to run as a pack that gave them the winning edge again.

Derek Lopez led them again with a fourth-place finish (16:53).

“I’m really happy with the race,’ Lopez said, before knowing the team outcome. “I thought it went very well. I did want to finish higher, but I got a little tired. Fourth is not bad. There are so many good runners in this conference.’

Just then one of his teammates came running over with the big news that his Falcons had held off Spring-Ford and won the team title, and a huge smile lit up his face.

“Everyone on the team ran a great race today,’ Lopez said. “We came back real strong this season.’

It is also a great omen for next week when the Falcons go after their third District 1-AA title. In Class AA, only the team winner moves on to states, where the Falcons won the Class AA team title two years ago and finished runner-up last year.

“Today we focused on this race, now we’re focusing on districts,’ Lopez said. “I knew I had to run really hard, for me and for my team. And that will be my focus again next week.’

The Falcons’ Brandon Wurtz, their second runner across at eighth (17:00), also played a major role in the win.

“Winning the team title is a big shock,’ Wurtz said, with a huge smile. “We knew we had to beat certain people. I tried my best to stay with them. We did what we needed to do and came through.’

It’s not the first PAC-10 title for the Falcons boys, of course. They also won the PAC-10 in 2011 and 2012.

“It was thrilling,’ said veteran Falcons coach Larry Rechtin. “I’m very proud of this group. Great bunch of guys. They worked very, very hard. We don’t have big numbers, but we definitely have big heart. The kids got in the race, did what we asked them to do. They established their spot at the middle of the race and then just hung on. It was an awesome run for us. The kids we have are committed, buy into what we want them to do. Spring-Ford is an excellent team, Perk Valley has an incredibly good team. They both got depth. We just had a better day today.

“Yes, we have won the championship before. But this is a sweet one because we certainly weren’t the favorites on paper. It’s nice to be a little bit in the underdog role this time and pull it off.’

For the Perk Valley boys, led by Jeff Montgomery, crossing sixth (16:57), was definitely a shock.

“We were hoping to get second,’ Montgomery said. “But I think if Spring-Ford would have had their usual kind of day they would have beaten us.

Like the Falcon boys, the Wildcat girls buy into their coaches pack mentality to chase team titles.

Allison Brunton led them with a seventh place finish (20:04), then they went 8-9-10-11-13 with Alex Glasier (20:05), Andrea Shade (20:09), Megan Bernotas (20:10), Emily Hansell (20:13), Katie Proffitt 20:37), and Samantha Garvey at 23rd (21:21).

“The kids are thrilled,’ veteran OJR coach David Michael said. “They stepped up and beat a very, very good Perk Valley team. It’s hard to beat a team in the championship when they go one-two. But our kids hung in and we got five kids in before their third one. It’s the way we train together in a pack, and today they worked together and brought it in. The kids just ran great. Thrilled to three-peat.’

And Michael gives a lot of credit to his assistant coach Tim Marco, a standout runner for Lansdale Catholic not that long ago.

“Coach Marco does a great job,’ Michael said. “He’s just a great motivator, more of a co-coach than assistant coach. He works extremely well with the kids.’

And Marco still runs those long miles with them.

“I was kind of nervous going in, but we all work together and pull each other along,’ said Brunton, a sophomore and their leading runner here.

“Everyone on the team just works together and we pull each other along as a team,’ Glasier said. “It felt great to win.’

“It’s honestly amazing, just great,’ Shade, a junior who played soccer before switching to cross country, said.

“I love this family feeling in cross country.’

For Bernotas, also a junior, it is her third team title. And she is the lone one that has been on the OJR girls team since the streak started.

“It feels amazing,’ Bernotas said. “I’m just so proud of my team, ecstatic right now. We just keep working together and have been pushing each other really hard and we’re all very close.’

“I love our team, everybody is amazing. It’s all a lot of fun,’ said Hansell, a junior.

“Our coaches are just so great, they push us pretty hard,’ Proffitt said. “But they also tell us to do what we love and do the best we can.’

Garvey a junior, played field hockey since seventh grade but switched to cross country this year.

“(I switched) because cross country is just such a cool sport,’ she said. “Everyone is so close, it’s one big family. It’s just great. And, honestly, I think the co-ed factor of cross country helps out a lot. Because the guys make you try to work harder and make it more fun.’

Perk Valley’s Glodek, meanwhile, celebrated her individual win. This was Glodek’s first championship race because she was injured her freshman year. And after the four-year domination of Methacton standout Kara Steinke, she is the new champ.

“I just kind of wanted it,’ Glodek said. “Emily and I went back and forth a lot. I finally passed her on the last mile. We’ve been working really hard this season. I just wanted to do everything I could for the team because the team title was definitely more important to me today.’

That also droves Daniels, her teammate and fellow sophomore, who finished a surprising second.

“It was definitely rough, but we have an amazing team,’ Daniels said. “I worked hard and felt great today. I wasn’t sure I could capture her (Schumaker), but I did. I could feel her behind me. It wasn’t easy, but I made it.’

Schumaker, now a senior, seemed to be the heir apparent to Steinke for the past three years.

“I just know I tried my hardest,’ Schumaker said. “But it’s one race. I definitely was going out to win, and not winning is disappointing. But the whole day I was over-thinking everything, and was real stressed about it. I probably did psyche myself out. But next week is another race and that’s what I look forward to.’

“You can’t judge a season how a runner finished in one race,’ Bears coach Steve Fegely said. “Emily won every dual meet, every tri-meet. My heart hurts for her. I know how hard she wanted this. But she still has next week and can turn it around at districts.’

Perk Valley coach Ryan Sullivan was proud as can be of his two sophomores who pulled off the upset.

“It wasn’t a surprise to me,’ Sullivan said. “From the beginning of the season I really thought Annie had a good chance to win this. And Michele was right behind her the whole season. Our girls have done a phenomenal job all season. Team-wise I’m disappointed. I thought we had a good chance to beat Owen J. I felt with Annie and Michele coming in first and second, we had the talent for the team win.’

Their only loss in the regular season was by one point to OJR in their dual meet.

“Our boys beating Spring-Ford, that was exciting,’ Sullivan said. “I was expecting Spring-Ford to win that race, so we were shooting for second. We reached our goal, gave Pottsgrove a run for the money. I’m really proud of the boys, they stepped up today.’

Back on the boys side, Eddinger had to leave immediately after the race for another commitment. He is a senior, but only in his second year of running, finished third here last year.

“No, I wasn’t surprised, said Fegely, his coach. “That finish was so exciting. Just knowing as much of a work horse as Dylan is, if there is somebody with a mental edge, it would be him.’ For Conway, the OJR freshman, to finish third was quite a statement.

“I’m really happy about my season,’ Conway said. “Over the summer my main goal was to get to low 16. My team did amazing this year too. My captains my coaches, we’re proud of ourselves.’

And since it is the first time in ages the OJR boys have also made the Final Four, they should be.

The Warriors’ Kirshenbaum finished second last year, leading the Methacton boys to their first championship. He was disappointed with his fifth-place finish (16:55) this year.

“This is a real tough group this year,’ Kirshenbaum said. “I definitely thought I’d take second, just like last year. And with a half a mile left I thought I had it. I gave it my best shot to keep it that way, but Eddinger and the Owen J. freshman are fantastic runners and pulled ahead of me.

“I’m just going to keep plugging and give it my best shot at districts next week and next year back here.’


Spring-Ford did win the boys JV race with 43 points, ahead of Owen J. Roberts (48), Methacton (88), and Boyertown (125) … Boyertown freshman Dominic Derafelo won the JV race with an 18:01, with Spring-Ford freshman Jake McKennna just a step behind with an 18:02 … Perkiomen Valley, led by JV girls winner Paige Nicholas (21:12) won the JV girls race with 18 points, ahead of Owen J Roberts (59), and Spring-Ford (68).