Upper Perkiomen girls seep double-dual with Boyertown, Pottstown

RED HILL >> It’s not the norm for a high-school sports program to have its fall season home schedule done with a week left in September.

But that’s the situation the Upper Perkiomen boys and girls cross country teams are facing this year. The last of their four Pioneer Athletic Conference home meets was staged Wednesday – the Indians hosting a double-dual with Boyertown and Pottstown – with its remaining league meets and invitationals all on the road.

So the boys celebrated their home finale and Senior Recognition Day in and around a split of their races. They edged the Trojans 28-30 while losing to the Bears 21-38; Boyertown, in turn, completed its sweep with a 19-44 victory over Pottstown.

On the girls’ side, Upper Perkiomen got the sweep with respective 25-32 and 17-40 wins over Boyertown and Pottstown. The Bears got a split with a 19-36 verdict over the Trojans.

“It’s definitely a little out of the ordinary,” Lee Ann Markwalter, the girls’ race winner, said afterward. She and teammate Serena Detweiler went 1-2 in a race where the UP girls had a slight edge over Boyertown in Top 10 finishes (5-4), with Pottstown getting one spot in the final order.

Markwalter covered her home course in 20:55, the lone runner to come in under the 21-minute mark. Detweiler clocked a 21:18 ahead of Boyertown’s 3-4 pairing of Amanda Murray and Grace DeMenno, with Lauren Weeks fifth in 23:14 ahead of another Bear duo, Renee Schumaker and Maddy Hunsberger.

“It felt good,” Markwalter said. “It wasn’t as hot as it had been. I accelerated the last mile, and pushed ahead.”

Megan and Allison Bitting and Jamie Homan, among the UP seniors running the last home meet of their scholastic careers, closed out the Top 10 for the host team. Megan and Allison were clocked with identical times of 23:50, and Homan was one second off their pace at 23:51.

“Our meets at the beginning of the year, we were competitive,” UP head coach Todd Niemann said. “We had a couple good invitationals, too. The kids really made a big step today. They’ve been working hard.”

Uliza Cruz was the leading Pottstown girl, eighth in 23:24. Brittany Bosko, Mya Pope and Claire Fetterman came in 12th (24:19), 13th (24:32) and 14th (24:33).

Following the sweep of the girls’ competition, the UP teams celebrated their senior members by having them go through a gauntlet of their teammates, getting high fives and fist-bumps along the way. There was also a presentation of gifts to the senior team members.

“Everyone ran really well,” UP head coach Todd Niemann said while his teams partook of a two-part post-race celebration just beyond their home-course finish line. “We had a lot of people run (personal records).”

Landon Detweiler, running second to Boyertown’s Bryton Henry, led a UP contingent that had lost its previous league races to Pope John Paul II and Pottsgrove. The junior’s final home race was completed in a time of 17 minutes flat … off Henry’s winning 16:43, but better than the 17:11 recorded by Pottstown leader Justin Beasley-Turner.

“I knew first place was going to (Henry),” Detweiler recalled, “so I was going after the Pottstown kid. At the end I was able to pass him.
“It was a PR for me today, so that’s good.”

The Boyertown boys had an overall strong showing, with six runners in the Top 10 and nine among the first 15. Owen Moore (17:38) and Dominic DeRafelo 917:44) went a respective 4-5 behind Beasley-Turner, Kollin Miller (17:54) and Kenny Branford (17:57) placed seventh and eighth in the final order, and Justin Smyth was 10th in 18:09.
Pottstown’s other high finishers were Kahlif Burgess, 13th in 18:39, and Paul Sabold, 15th in 18;48.

“Our boys team has been stronger than the girls,” Boyertown head coach Ryan Knox said. “We knew that coming into the season. They’ve worked hard and improved.”

The remainder of UP’s schedule will be comprised of PAC-10 meets against Methacton (Sept. 29), Spring-Ford and Owen J. Roberts (Oct. 7) and Phoenixville and Perkiomen Valley (Oct. 14), with the PIAA Foundation and Paul Short Invitationals mixed in on Sept. 26 and Oct. 2, respectively.

“We’ll be running a couple courses we haven’t run before,” Niemann said. “Phoenixville’s course is new, and we’ll be at Heebner Park for Methacton. We’ll be going against some bigger schools, so our goals will be different.”

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