Prior to the Senior Night festivities, the Tamaqua girls' cross country team wanted to make its seniors' last home meet a memorable one.
At the same time, the Lady Raiders were focused on gaining momentum with a victory over a Division I foe heading into next week's Schuylkill League Team Championship Meet.
The Lady Raiders got everything they wanted with a 23-32 win over Blue Mountain Wednesday in Tamaqua.
"That was incredible for them to come out here today and finish that way," Tamaqua head coach Tom Kanger said. "Blue Mountain's always a tough team. For them to be able to come out on a day like this where the weather isn't the greatest, they still were able to run really hard.
"They have been working really hard because they wanted to have that extra opportunity to run another day. So, it was great for them to shine on their day."
Fittingly, it was one of the team's five senior that led the way for Tamaqua. Amber Carroll, who has been a consistent front runner for the Raiders all season long, completed her final regular season with another first-place finish.
"It was my last time here, so it was kind of sad, but that's okay," said Carroll, who ran a time of 22:03. "We knew Pottsville beat them earlier in the season, so we knew they were the ones that we had to beat to give us an edge heading into next week's league meet.
"At leagues, we're just going to try to be faster than we were and become champs. We're going to try and do a lot better, but this gave us a lot of motivation for leagues next week."
Pottsville (5-0 Schuylkill League) knocked off Tamaqua (4-1 SL) back on Sept. 21 by a 20-39 score, while the Tide handed Blue Mountain (3-2) a 23-33 setback a week later.
Another senior, Kelsey Patrick, also made the most of her final trip on her high school's 3.1 mile course. Patrick ran a personal best time of 22:23. Her second-place finish helped give the Raiders an edge over the Eagles in the final scoring.
Senior Cecily Kohlmeir finished in fifth place, while Emily Bumbulsky and senior Dana Ansbach, took seventh and eighth places, respectively.
"We definitely work together and push each other in practices and in meets to help each other get faster," Patrick said. "So, it means a lot to have teammates there that we can work together and get our times faster and hopefully we can continue the momentum from this."
In the boys race, the Raiders weren't able to send their only senior, Tom Betzler, out with a win. The Raider boys suffered a 15-50 setback, but gained valuable experience against a very good team.
"The loss is definitely disappointing," Kanger said. "It always is. But from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, I can show drastic improvement from these guys. They have gotten so much better with every experience.
"I can't complain with them because they have knocked minutes off their time and they still continue to knock minutes off their times."
Tamaqua 23, Blue Mountain 32
1. Amber Carroll (T) 22:03, 2. Kelsey Patrick (T) 22:23, 3. Sarah Brooks (BM) 23:32, 4. Sierra Pritiskutch (BM), 5. Cecily Kohlmeir (T), 6. Lorissa Luckenbill (BM), 7. Emily Bumbulsky (T) 24:23, 8. Dana Ansbach (T), 9. Jackie Boran (BM), 10. Corinne Fosler (BM).
Blue Mountain 15, Tamaqua 50
1. Sam Hunter (BM) 18:56, 2. Wesley Gehman (BM) 20:08, 3. Danny Challenger (BM) 20:09, 4. Chad Hettner (BM) 20:47, 5. Stuart Blair (BM) 20:56, 6. Nico Granito (BM), 7. Hunter Firing (BM), 8. Bradley Williams (BM), 9. Eric Ross (BM), 10. Jason Granito (BM).