Geiger leads Trojan boys at state XC
Two weeks ago, Parkland junior Hailemichael Geiger finished the district cross country meet in ninth place. Unfortunately, he was facing an iron deficiency at the end of that race that required immediate medical attention.
About a week and a half later, Geiger returned on the biggest stage of the season at Saturday’s PIAA Cross Country Championships in Hershey. And he capped his season with arguably his best performance of the fall.
Geiger led Parkland, which placed 14th as a team out of the 21 competing boys squads in the Class AAA field, with a 58th-place finish in 16:48. In his third trip to Hershey, Geiger was pleased to be back at the top of his game when it mattered most.
“I felt great,” Geiger said. “I went out with my partner, Dan Kyvelos, and we both really worked together for the first two miles. I felt focused and I was in control of everything. I kept looking out for other teams to see how far I was behind them.
“It’s a beautiful day. I’ve been hydrating; I’ve been doing all of that every day. It really paid off.”
After Geiger finished 114th last season, he returned this year, ran through the course mentally and made some adjustments. He knew that adjusting his approach in the first mile would be the difference in this his third trip to states.
“[I learned] don’t kill the first mile,” Geiger said. “That’s what I didn’t try to do. I was happy. I kind of relaxed with my partner in the first mile and stayed focused.”
Shortly after that first mile, Geiger began to pull away from his Trojan teammates. The rest of the Trojans capped successful seasons as well, led by Sam Morgan in 83rd and Kyvelos in 107th.
Steven Kaleycik (147), Mat Bianco (152), Nicholas Bower (172) and Riley Williamson (182) paced Parkland’s finishers on the boys’ side.
The goal going into states was for Geiger to finish in the top 25 to earn a medal. And while that has evaded him yet again, he’ll likely have one more chance in his senior campaign.
Junior Sydney DelVecchio paced the two Parkland girl finishers, placing 146th out of the 226 Class AAA participants. Despite a bit of a roadblock to start the race, she was pleased with her effort in her first trip running at states.
“I lost my shoe about a quarter mile into the race, so I had to run with it in my hand,” DelVecchio said after running a 20:53. “I was a little frazzled, but then I just tried to forget about it.
“I was hoping I would do a little bit better. But I’m overall happy with how I did considering I lost my shoe.”
DelVecchio made the trip to Hershey as an alternate runner as a freshman, but didn’t run the course two years ago.
“I didn’t really have any goals or expectations because it’s my first time,” DelVecchio said. “I wanted to come out and run a good race and have fun.”
Parkland’s Mikayla Stoudt came in 167th to finish a remarkable career.
Pennsbury’s Olivia Sargent (AAA), Dallas’ Ally Rome (AA) and Vincentian Academy’s Abdalah Marianne (A) captured first on the girls’ side. On the boys’ side, Central Bucks East’s Jake Brophy (AAA), Lake-Lehman’s Dominic Hockenbury (AA) and Sewickley Academy’s Mackey Griffin (A) won their respective races.