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North Penn boys, girls race to wins over Souderton Area

TOWAMENCIN >> North Penn’s Gavin Zanck pushed himself through the 90-degree heat and away from the pack to set a winning pace for the Knights on Wednesday.
“In the first mile, I felt pretty good, pretty relaxed. I came to the last 1,000 (meters) and that’s pretty much when everyone started going,” he said. “Around the lacrosse fields, I felt it all in my legs at that point. (Coach Mike Werner) had us run 1,000’s the other day and he had the last 200 marked over there. I saw that and I just knew I had to go.
“I ended up with a four-second P.R. so I’m happy with today.”
The Knights came away with a commanding 15-49 victory in the Suburban One League Continental Conference matchup, and the girls followed with a 23-33 win, as they defeated the rival Big Red for the first time since 2016.
The North Penn boys took the top six spots on what was a scorching afternoon on their home course.
“We knew coming into this meet that we wouldn’t have our top three runners so coach told us we all had to try really hard this meet,” said Zanck, who ran the fastest time of the day in 17 minutes, 13 seconds. “That’s what we did and we put it out there. We came in and came out with the ‘W.’
“I like the start we’re off to,” he said. “We feel pretty confident having tied for the conference title last year. So we’re just trying to make that happen this year.”
Cole Keel led an improving Souderton squad.
“North Penn’s probably the best team in the conference and certainly one of the better teams in the district,” Big Red coach John Donahue said. “We were looking for improvement and for our pack to get closer together. So that certainly gives us something to build on and that was a positive sign.
“Our guys are working really hard. It’s one of my smaller teams in recent years, but probably one of my closest and hardest working. So I’m really proud of the effort so far.”
As coach Werner said, the Knights are ready to go climbing, as their next three meets — starting with a trip to the Belmont Plateau on Saturday — involve some serious hill running. The Souderton boys head to DeSales University while the Big Red girls will be off.
“I was very pleased, especially with the conditions,” Werner said of Wednesday. “You wanna come outta here with a win in our conference, which of course is never easy. You never know how your team is gonna react on a hot day like this but we came out healthy I believe and with a win, so we’re happy with that.”
Jamie Diedel, who won the girls race for NP with a 21:25, said she felt “surprisingly pretty good, considering the heat and humidity. I knew it was gonna be hot so I tried to mentally prepare myself.
“Losing our top runner (Maeve Gimbert) from last year, we didn’t really know what to expect,” she said of coming into the season. “But we have a lot of really good underclassmen and our top three runners really stepped up. I’m really excited to see how the season progresses.”
“It was a good run for us.” coach Jim Crawford Jr. said. “Hopefully we keep getting better — that’s what we’re trying to do.”
The Knights had the race 26-29 and then an unfortunate DQ for Souderton widened the margin to 23-33. Big Red was led by Gina Smyth.
“We have a really nice pack,” coach David Klein said. “That’s what I’ve been taking away from the start to our season. This is a really nice group of girls. They work hard and they’re fun to coach.”

Boys Cross Country
North Penn 15, Souderton 49
1. G Zanck (NP) 17:13; 2. I. Kelly (NP) 17:52; 3. B. Collins (NP) 18:00; 4. J. Shive (NP) 18:03; 5. M. Landis (NP) 18:16; 6. S. Fisher (NP) 18:18; 7. C. Keel (S) 18:27; 8. L. McHenry (NP) 18:32; 9. N. Morales (S) 19:18; 10. D. Maue (S) 19:20; 11. O. Hershberger (S) 20:38; 12. W. Handwerk (S) 20:39.
Girls Cross Country
North Penn 23, Souderton 33
1. Jamie Diedel (NP) 21:25; 2. Kelley Selhammer (NP) 21:55; 3. Rachel Ahlmark (NP) 22:33; 4. Gina Smyth (S) 22:41; 5. Ali Malmquist (S) 22:53; 6. Kristine Kearns (S) 23:15; 7. Campbell Bache (S) 23:41; 8. Rachel Storm (NP) 23:59; 9. Julia Shin (NP) 24:00; 10. JiJee Dhinesh (NP) 24:02. 11. Tatianne Velicer (S) 24:32.





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