BETHLEHEM - The Pleasant Valley girls' youth movement came through when it needed it the most.
The Lady Bears' cross country team, which consists mainly of underclassmen, continued its great 2010 run at the Mountain Valley Conference cross country championships Tuesday afternoon. The Bears ended their undefeated conference campaign appropriately by capturing their first MVC title since 2006.
Leading Pleasant Valley to victory was freshman Dana McAllister. McAllister finished second, as she came in with a time of 20:55. She was roughly 19 seconds behind first-place finisher Kiana Tucker from Stroudsburg - who was also running in her first MVC championship.
"All year we have been the top team," said McAllister. "Not being cocky, but we just wanted to stay at the top and do our best.
"It was a hard course. For a lot of it you can see how far you have to run, which is mentally tough for runners. There were only a couple of up-hill parts. Most of it was flat or downhill. It made it easier to pace yourself with the girls in front of you, so I was pacing myself with Kiana."
McAllister wasn't alone in the top ten. Teammates Sam Klingel (fourth), Kaitlyn Smith (fifth), Stacy Wojy (sixth) and Stephanie Palmer (seventh) all came along for the championship run. Smith and Palmer are both freshmen, while Wojy is a junior and Klingel is a senior.
Klingel, the MVC champ in 2007 and 2008, has helped McAllister get to where she is today.
"I have learned so much," admitted McAllister. "We have been practicing together for a while now. I didn't even know her at the beginning of the year but we have become best friends. We run with each other and push each other.
"We were back-and-forth this year. I think won three races and she won three races. I started out by using her to monitor my speed. One day I passed her and I said, 'Sam, this is all your doing.'
The Lady Bears ran the table in the MVC and finished the year a perfect 12-0. Tuesday was the exclamation point to their season and head coach George Fair was very proud of the effort his girls put forth.
"The ladies ran very well today," said Fair. "A number of them are first year runners at the varsity level and you never know when it finally gets to that last race of the year. We have a couple of veteran runners that really carried them along this year. I think the combination of experience and the energy from the new faces really allowed them to train well and race hard today."
Lehighton's Emily Oldt was the team's only runner to finish in the top 40. She came in 17th with a time of 22:54.9. The Lady Indians did not score due to a lack of runners.
Meanwhile on the boys' side, Stroudsburg captured its second straight conference crown by beating out Pleasant Valley by five points. It is the second year in a row that the Bears finished runner-up to the Mounties.
Dan Rose was Pleasant Valley's top runner. Rose placed third with a time of 17:29.7. Last year Rose finished sixth with a time over 18 minutes.
"I was with (Pocono Mountain East's) Alex Price the whole race," said Rose. "I knew it was going to come down to the finish. I think I did a pretty good job today."
Fellow Bears Anthony Ruiz, Alex Larkin and Tim Landes finished fifth, sixth and tenth respectively.
Lehighton's top finisher was Daulton Radler in 23rd. He finished with a time of 19:50.6. Teammate David Magyar was four spots behind in 27th with a time of 19:58.8.
"This was a great day, without a doubt," said Fair. "It is a one day race and you have no idea what will happen. It's a tough league and the schools have some strong individuals.
"To be able to compete and be in contention for the top two or three spots is a great thing. Individually you can run well, but to show a team effort is the consistency I was looking for this year. I think we saw that today."
Pleasant Valley 24, Stroudsburg 41, Pocono Mt. East 86, East Stroudsburg North 111, Pocono Mt. West 119
1. Kiana Tucker (S) 20:36.4, 2. Dana McAllister (PV) 20:55, 3. Abby Ross (PME) 21:08.7, 4. Sam Klingel (PV) 21:24.4, 5. Kaitlyn Smith (PV) 21:32.4, 6. Stacy Wojy (PV) 21:36.4, 7. Steph Palmer (PV) 21:50.4, 8. Justina McLaughlin (S) 22:06.7, 9. Micaela Rodas (S) 22:08.9, 10. Skyler Dunham (PMW) 22:13.4, 11. Sarah Myles (S) 22:18, 12. Shannon Gardner (S) 22:27.6, 13. Sam Myles (S) 22:32.1, 14. Abby Kaspszyk (PV) 22:35.6, 15. Mallory Paradise (S) 22:43.6, 16. Natalie Gilbert (S) 22:50.2, 17. Emily Oldt (L) 22:54.9, 18. Rosie Sobrinski (S) 22:56.6, 19. Mari Cardelle (S) 23:10, 20. Liz Joyce (S) 23:16.6.
Stroudsburg 39, Pleasant Valley 44, Pocono Mt. East 70, East Stroudsburg South 80, Lehighton 158, Pocono Mt. West 159, East Stroudsburg North 188
1. Mark Pfaeffle (S) 17:12.7, 2. Alex Price (PME) 17:29, 3. Dan Rose (PV) 17:29.7, 4. Matt Kock (S) 17:53.3, 5. Anthony Ruiz (PV) 18:16.7, 6. Alex Larkin (PV) 18:20.8, 7. Kennard Wilson (ESS) 18:33.8, 8. Karim Osman (S) 18:54.8, 9. Chris McLane (PMW) 19:01, 10. Tim Landes (PV) 19:03.4, 11. Jake Spies (PME) 19:05.8, 12. Justin Smigley (S) 19:07.5, 13. Kyle Hoogestraat (PME) 19:09, 14. Steve Terrana (S) 19:17.6, 15. Peter Bank (ESS) 19:29.5, 16. Jeff Hernandez (S) 19:32.5, 17. Mason Byrne (ESS) 19:32.8, 18. Elijah Murphy (ESS) 19:36.1, 19. Lee Munoz (PME) 19:37, 20. Jacob Percey (PV) 19:40.6.