CENTER VALLEY – Despite graduating a large number of seniors, Northwestern remained one of the top girls cross country teams in the Colonial League.
A year after winning the league title, Northwestern took third place this season with just one of last year's top five runners scoring at this year's league meet.
Led by medal winners Haley Yost (fifth) and Emma Kemmerer (eighth), the Lady Tigers finished behind Saucon Valley and Notre Dame (Green Pond).
"In the beginning of the season, even our coaches didn't expect much," said Yost. "But once they saw us racing and getting into it, they realized that we didn't want that reload year. We want to come back and show them that we didn't go anywhere."
Northwestern's boys team also had a solid showing, taking fourth place.
Yost, a freshman, wasn't sure what to expect at her first league meet. She was usually around fifth place at regular season meets and was hoping to be around that position at leagues.
"I was just hoping for top 10," she said. "I made sure I didn't go out too fast because there's a lot of hills in the woods. I knew once I went up the last two hills in the last mile, that that was my chance to make a move. That's when I got up to fifth."
Behind Yost and Kemmerer were teammates Natalie Boehm (18th), Anna Fricchione (22nd) and Alex Dutt to complete the scoring. Fricchione is the only runner in this year's top five that was part of the to five last year.
Boehm was the team's sixth finisher last year, taking 38th. She improved 20 places on last year's finish.
Northern Lehigh girls placed eighth as a team, led by Samantha Corcoran in 25th place.
In the boys race, senior Cody Reinert (11th) and sophomore Tyler Stelmack (14th) led the team to a fourth-place finish.
Reinert, a four-year Tiger harrier, had his highest finish of his career individually.
"Feel pretty good overall," he said. "I was shooting for top 15, so I made that. Team-wise we didn't do what we thought, but we'll get them next week at districts."
Reinert battled injuries during the season and finally feels healthy heading into the postseason. While it was the highest team finish of Reniert's career, after posting a 21-5 record this season, the team was hoping to be in the top two or three places.
Next week at districts, Northwestern's boys team will compete in Class AA, where it will battle Notre Dame (Green Pond) and Allentown Central Catholic for the top two spots, which garner team berths into the state meet.
Reinert said he's shooting for a top 15 finish at districts, which would be good enough to earn the individual entry into states. But he added that his first goal is for the Tigers to qualify as a team.
Northwestern's girls team will move up to Class AAA at districts, making it much more difficult to finish in the top two and get the entire team to states.
Northern Lehigh and Palmerton also ran in the boys league championship race. Palmerton placed eighth, led by Kevin Seemiller in 37th place. The NL boys placed 10th, led by Austin Danish in 17th.
Eric Busher of Notre Dame won the league title, finishing in 17:14. Wilson won the boys team title with 52 points.
Saucon Valley dominated the girls race, placing three runners in the top four. The Panthers' Elizabeth Chikotas won this year's title in 19:02.6.
The Panthers won the team title with 31 points.
Colonial League Cross Country Championship Meet Results
Held at DeSales University Course
1. Wilson 52, 2. Bangor 62, 3. Notre Dame (Green Pond) 74, 4. Northwestern 101, 5. Notre Dame (East Stroudsburg) 144, 6. Southern Lehigh 174, 7. Saucon Valley 201, 8. Palmerton 215, 9. Palisades 221, 10. Northern Lehigh 272, 11. Pen Argyl 277, 12. Moravian Academy 290, 13. Salisbury 348, 14. Catasauqua 381.
1. Eric Busher (NDGP) 17:14, 2. Brett Gubitosi (NDES) 17:24.5, 3. Wade White (Bang) 17:40, 4. Nick Pattti (Bang) 17:41, 5. Rory McAtee (Wil) 17:44.5, 6. Jaryd Flank (Wil) 17:48.3, 7. Trey Thatcher (Wil) 17:50.6, 8. Michael Martinsky (NDGP) 17:55.5, 9. Zach Bartleson (PA) 17:55, 10. Timmy Desario (Bang) 18:00.
Other local finishers in Top 50
11. Cody Reinert (NW) 18:03.3, 14. Tyler Stelmack (NW) 18:06.8, 17. Austin Danish (NL) 18:13.3, 19. Patrick Stroebel (NW) 18:24.2, 26. Ryan Cerrone (NW) 18:34.8, 31. Tyler Malay (NW) 18:41.7, 37. Kevin Seemiller (Palm) 18:46.1, 39. Mike Horvath (Palm) 19:02.2, 43. Aaron Papay (Palm) 19:07.6, 44. David Fitzpatrick (Palm) 19:11.2, 50. Scott Showak (NL) 19:21.6.
1. Saucon Valley 31, 2. Notre Dame (Green Pond) 76, 3. Northwestern 87, 4. Bangor 134, 5. Southern Lehigh 134, 6. Wilson 139, 7. Moravian Academy 186, 8. Northern Lehigh 230, 9. Palisades 271, 10. Salisbury 271, 11. Notre Dame (East Stroudsburg) 304, 12. Pen Argyl 326.
1. Elizabeth Chikotas (SV) 19:02.6, 2. Lainie Smith (SV) 19:31.7, 3. Chelsea Rivenbark (SL) 29:09, 4. Megan Stack (SV) 20:24.9, 5. Haley Yost (NW) 20:29.6, 6. Meredith Colton (Bang) 20:32.6, 7. Rebecca Askins-Gasts (Mor) 20:36.2, 8. Emma Kemmerer (NW) 20:38, 9. Taylor Gonoude (Sal) 20:44.7, 10. Sarah Kish (SV) 20:50.8.
Other local finishers in top 50
14. Andrea Stevko (Palm) 21:23.5, 18. Natalie Boehm (NW) 21:41.2, 23. Anna Fricchione (NW) 22:00.4, 25. Samantha Corcoran (NL) 22:08.5, 36. Alex Dutt (NW) 23:10.7, 44. Lauren Alden (NW) 13:38.1, 48. Erin Ondush (NW) 23:47.5, 49. Rachel Barnett (NL) 23:51.6.