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E-town boys varsity captures title at PTXC 7 invitational


Elizabethtown boys XC team won the title in the blue race of the PTXC 7 invitational.

The seventh annual PTXC Invitational at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania brought out the top high school cross country runners from Central and Eastern Pennsylvania and beyond Saturday, Sept. 12. With weather that finally cooled after some extreme heat early in the week, runners were able to clock some fast times on The Farm course.

In the boys gold race, Dominic Hockenbury of Lake Lehman broke 16 minutes to win the race in 15:53, while AA state champion Zach Seiger of Red Land finished in second place in 16:08, in what PA Mile Split called “his best race in this invitational of his career.” Stone Bridge (VA) came away with the team title with 113 points. For those in the Elizabethtown/Hershey/Middletown area, you’ll be interested that Hershey’s boys came in second, ahead of Dallas Area High School in Luzerne County.

The girls from Central Cambria, who are the reigning Class A state champions, placed six runners in the top 20 and eight runners under 22 minutes, according to PA Mile Split. Individual honors went to two time PTXC Middle School champion Kiele Riefenstahl of Saucon Valley, who is a freshman and has won her first two invitationals. She won PTXC in 19:20 by 14 seconds.

Elizabethtown’s varsity boys captured the team title in the blue race, scoring 87 points and beating Trinity by 30. The win came thanks to placing four runners in the top 20. After the race, Coach Mark Gallagher said he had talked with the team this past week about their goals for the race, which were to place four of the boys in the top 20 and to win as a team. Placing in the top 20 were Charles Scharf (8th place, 17:23.85), Christopher Scharf (11th place, 17:35.87), Conrad Esbenshade (12th place, 17:44.67) and SimeonSchlicher (18th place, 17:57.18). All earned medals for their performances.

Conestoga Valley’s team had a strong showing, finishing third in the team competition. Danny Bowman, Theo Roberts and Nathan Burkman provided a solid group and finished between 18:00 and 18:09. Tim McCarthy wasn’t far behind at 18:21, and Timothy Nguyen rounded out CV’s scoring in 18:30.

Going into the race, Coach Gallagher said winning the invitational would depend on the performance of the team’s fifth runner, Nat McCloud, a 9th grader who finished in 44th place with a time of 18:40.81. Since the cross country team’s first meet in Hershey on Sept. 4, McCloud has consistently been the fifth runner and has been closing the gap between him and the team’s fourth runner.

Rounding out E-town’s varsity boys today were Mitch Hoffmaster (52nd place, 18:51.46), Sam Clemens (80th place, 19:42.18) and Austin Shirk (101st place, 20:28.29).

In the girls varsity race, freshman Cat Shontz finished in 13th place with a time of 20:44.82. She earned a medal in her first varsity invitational. The varsity girls were rounded out by Kyra Buettner (22:39), Kaylee Hunter (23:37), Beth Barge (24:54), Sam Stackhouse (24:59), Grace Robinson (26:05), Mallory Livering (27:03) and Allie Stump (28:18).