PHS harriers compete at states
HERSHEY - Parkland's Mikayla Stoudt has proven before that she can perform at a high level at less than 100 percent, earning a 19th-place medal at last year's PIAA Championships despite running with a broken bone in her foot.
This past Saturday, the Trojans' talented sophomore returned to Hershey and again impressed with a 14th-place finish in 19:08 on what proved to be a difficult day.
"I'm very happy with my performance," Stoudt said. "I didn't feel as well as I would have liked to during the race; I had a stomach cramp and my arms were sore. But I just tried to push through it and get my place."
Achieving that success in a highly competitive field drew high praise from Parkland coach Loretta Dodson.
"Today, I thought it was a very tactical race," the coach said. "You're with people of your ability and in order to get your place you have to be aware and focused throughout the race.
"I thought she ran a very good race. She finished strong and that's what it's all about."
Stoudt's steady progression also helped District 11 champion Parkland to an 11th-place finish in the team standings.
Behind Stoudt were Melissa Lukas (105th, 20:37), Madeline Lefrock (128th, 20:53), Alexis Dongvort (132nd, 20:55) and Cara Moyer (148th, 21:12), who rounded out the Trojans' top five.
"Team-wise, this season was phenomenal," Stoudt said. "I'm very proud of our girls for working hard and coming through from nothing."
Parkland also had strong representation in the Class AAA boys race, earning a spot as a team as the District 11 runner-up.
The Trojans placed 16th in a field of 19, led by Daniel Kyvelos' 75th-place finish in a time of 17:11.
After Kyvelos were Grant Newman (130th, 17:41), Michael Geiger (153rd, 17:54), Lucas Crampton (177th, 18:10), Loren Skinker (188th, 18:22), Eric Scheler (190th, 18:26) and Justin Bergen (197th, 18:33).
For a Parkland squad with a number of unknowns coming into the season, just making the trip to Hershey was an accomplishment.
"We lost five runners out of our lineup," said Dodson. "So to get a team together and get them qualified for the state meet was our main goal. We want to get kids to the state meet so they can get the experience."
That experience should bode well for a squad that features a number of underclassmen, qualifying for the state meet with only two seniors.
"I'm very happy with how they performed today," Dodson said. "We still have some work to do, but we have a young team and hopefully they'll be able to build on this and have a better season next year."