Galligan, Abrahams earn medals, trip to Hershey

BETHLEHEM >> Liam Galligan wasn’t sure what to expect entering the boys Class AAA race Friday at the PIAA District One Cross Country Championships.

His performances at the Rose Tree Park-hosted Delaware County and Central League championship meets, in which he took respective finishes of eighth and fourth, weren’t up to snuff. Not according to his standards, anyway.

“I was a little worried,” the Springfield junior said, “because I wasn’t sure if something was going to come back and bite me. You know how I got a cramp at Delcos? I wasn’t sure if something was going to happen. But I just had to put it out of my mind.”

Whatever Galligan did to help boost his 14th-place finish in 15 minutes, 57 seconds Friday, he may want to keep doing.

Galligan, a cross country (first team) and track (second team) All-Delco runner as a sophomore, completed the 5-kilometer route at Lehigh University with a state-championship qualifying position well in hand, edging Haverford’s James Abrahams, who secured his first PIAA Championship qualification with a 15:59, good for 16th.

As for Galligan, his district-race return offered a chance to get back on track via one of his favorite courses. He expunged any anxiety on the relatively fair-leveled course, shaving last year’s state-qualifying, 30th-best time by 28 seconds en route to his first District One medal.

“He just didn’t look himself in those two races,” Springfield coach Ken Keehn said of Galligan’s two previous performances. “But he always runs well here at Lehigh, so I was pretty confident that he would run a good race.”

Galligan’s said last year’s 49th-place mark of 16:49 at Hershey’s Parkview course was something of an experiment — a trial run of sorts. This time, he’d said he’d like to be one of his race’s 25 medal winners. If it doesn’t work out that way, then that’s OK, too.

“I want to medal, but that’ll be a little hard,” he said. “If I get top 35, I’ll be happy. Last year, I didn’t care about how I did. I told (Keehn), ‘Let me just get a feel of how the competition is.’ … It doesn’t really matter how states goes. If I can get the recognition, that’s what I want.”

As for Haverford’s Abrahams, he didn’t log his desired personal record. But not only did he earn the right to compete at Hershey for the first time next week, he earned one of the race’s 20 medals with his No. 16 finish.

“I just saw kids gunning it and I knew I had a little bit left, so I just went with them and gave it all I got,” Abrahams said of the event’s hectic finish. “I wanted to PR, maybe get in to the 15:40s, but that didn’t go so well for me. I was a little slower than that. But I also wanted to medal and I got that, so I’m pretty happy.”

Such is the new kind of expectation for the rapidly progressing Abrahams.

“I would’ve been angry if I didn’t go (to states), honestly. I wanted to go.”

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