PHS boys use depth to earn second-place finish
A quick glance at the podium of this year's District 11 Class AAA boys cross country meet may have given some people a sense of déjà vu.
For the second consecutive year, Easton's Colin Abert took the win, blitzing the Bethlehem Golf Club course with an astonishing time of 15 minutes, 43 seconds, breaking his own course record set a week earlier at the LVC championships by 21 seconds
Abert finished 49 seconds in front of Freedom junior Ben Ziegler, who led a 2, 5, 8, 9, 13 finish for the Patriots, which ran to their second straight District 11 team title.
But what may have been lost in the seemingly routine dominance of the Red Rovers' talented junior and the balanced attack of the Patriots was Parkland's strong showing.
The Trojans took advantage of their depth, placing four runners in the top 15 to claim a second-place finish in the team standings with 68 points and earn a trip to the PIAA Championships in Hershey this weekend.
Grant Newman, who finished in seventh with a time of 16:50, paced Parkland.
The Trojans' Daniel Kyvelos (10th), Michael Geiger (14th) and Lucas Crampton (15th) all came in ahead of the Red Rovers third runner, Joshua Shultz, who finished in 16th.
The strong performances of several underclassmen have allowed Parkland to maintain its place among the elite teams in the district, which was far from a sure thing at the beginning of the season.
"I am so proud of this group of boys," said Parkland coach Loretta Dodson. "We were out of the mix at the beginning (of the season). We knew we could count on some of our people that were coming back. But we knew that we needed some surprises to add into the mix.
"This year, for the first time in a long time, I thought the boys were really focused and they knew that there was no room for error."
Dodson credits much of the Trojans' success to a coaching staff that is tirelessly working with the team to ensure they progress and develop over the course of the season.
"I have a great coaching staff," said Dodson. "We really focused on everyone and we don't want anyone to fall through the cracks because we really want to develop runners, which takes time.
"With that, you just need to get kids to do the work and it really is gratifying when they achieve success."