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Haverford, Strath Haven gain revenge with Delco cross country titles

Strath Haven's Rowe Crawford, left, running behind older sister Ava in a 2019 meet, helped lead Strath Haven to a Delcos title on Saturday.

UPPER PROVIDENCE — The Haverford High boys team and the Strath Haven girls needed to make a point at the Delaware County Cross Country Championships Saturday afternoon at Rose Tree Park.

Haverford, which placed second to Penncrest in a 2019 meet that was decided by the sixth runner tie-breaker, had its top three runners finish 1-2-3 and easily outdistanced runner-up Penncrest for the school’s second team title. The first was in 2018.

Strath Haven, which fell one point short of Haverford in the battle for the 2019 girls crown, ran away from the Fords and The Academy of Notre Dame to earn its first team title since 2018 and its third in the last eight meets.

Haverford senior Ethan Fingerhut was the boys’ individual champion with a time of 16 minutes, 4 seconds. He finished 18 seconds ahead of junior teammate Patrick Lawson, who beat classmate Quentin Ryan to the line by five seconds.

Penncrest junior Gavin Mogck and Radnor senior Jimmy Kurtz rounded out the top five finishers. Junior Remy Dufresne (16th) and senior Chris Potter (24th) were Haverford’s other scorers.

Fingerhut became Haverford’s third consecutive individual champion. Mike Donnelly took the honors in 2018 and 2019. No meet was held in 2020.

“I finished one place ahead of my brother (Josh) two years ago,” Fingerhut said of his eighth place in 2019. “We knew some of the other teams here were good, and I really wanted to do what I could to win this race today and for our team to win the championship.

“When we hit the last mile (marker), I just took off and really tried to get out there as far as I could. Now our goals are the Central League (meet), districts and states.”

Lawson admitted that the Fords “took a look at the other runners, they were strong on the hill at two miles and sprinted past those other guys.”

Ryan competed in the Delco varsity race for the first time.

“For us, winning as a team is always the goal,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who finishes first, second or third. The thing is that our team wins.”

Matt Wells shrugs off any attempt at taking credit for his team’s successes in his four years as Haverford’s head coach.

“They are a special bunch,” he said. “They put in the work during the summer, and I’m honored to be associated with the Haverford program. We’re fortunate to be in a league with teams like Penncrest, Lower Merion and Radnor, who really help to push us.”

Sophomore Hannah Prokup (fourth) and seniors Rowe Crawford (fifth) and Gwyneth Stach (sixth) led the way for Strath Haven’s girls championship, with 10th-grader Chloe Brown (12th) and senior Morgan McErlean (23rd) rounding out the scoring. The Panthers put up 50 points to Haverford’s 63.

Notre Dame junior Therese Trainer was the individual champion in 19:22, with Penncrest freshman Ruby Schwelm second (19:37) and Haverford ninth grader Camryn McGeehan third (19:40).

“(Brown) getting past three Haverford runners coming up the last hill was all heart,” Strath Haven head coach Bill Coren said.

Crawford said that the coach has been reminding his runners about what happened two years ago “almost every day. We know he’s going in the (Delco Athletes) Hall of Fame tomorrow and didn’t want to disappoint him today.”

Prokup was pleased with her Delco Meet debut.

“I just wanted to try to keep up with the others on my team and not let anyone get too far ahead of me,” she said.

Notre Dame’s Trainer placed third as a freshman in the 2019 meet. She was 10th at the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh last week, four places behind Penncrest’s Schwelm, who led for most of the first half of the race Saturday.

“I really liked running in the weather we had today,” Trainer said. “I felt that when we got to the hills, I could try to pick my speed up and really get going. I enjoy running the hills.

“We have our league and state meets at Belmont Plateau, and that’s the kind of course I really like running on.”

Schwelm was disappointed that she couldn’t maintain her lead throughout the race.

“I wanted to get out, but I think I might have gone out too fast,” she said. “That made it tough at the finish.”

Haverford freshman McGeehan was a bit closer to Trainer and Schwelm than at last week’s Paul Short race.

“I wanted to get a fast start and stay with the runners in the front,” she said.

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