CENTER VALLEY Change may be inevitable, but not when it comes to the certain aspects of the 2013 Colonial League Cross Country Championships.
In the girls meet, Saucon Valley's Elizabeth Chikotas wrapped up an unprecedented fourth consecutive individual title while the Northwestern girls captured their third straight team title after another 26-0 regular season.
The victory puts Chikotas in a league of her own as the first girl to ever claim four Colonial League meet wins. The senior did it in style, finishing with a time of 18:43, her fastest ever at the De Sales University course.
"I'm just having a good season," Chikotas said. "I've been running consistently faster at almost every meet this season. Finally things are just kind of coming together and I'm really lucky to have it happen during my senior year."
While Chikotas is no doubt having an impressive season, the consistently strong performance demonstrated by Northwestern senior Haley Yost has been just as remarkable. Yost finished second with a time of 19:43, a personal best and an improvement on her third place finish a year ago.
Going up against one of the top runners in Colonial League history is no easy task, but Yost has adjusted and tailored her style accordingly.
"In races, I don't focus on her and just try to focus on running my own race," Yost said. "If I close the gap, I close the gap. Today I closed it to a minute as opposed to two minutes at the beginning of the season.
"I've been trying to run with Carly (Pierce), and for the majority of the races (this year) we've been running the first mile together and then picking it up as we go."
Northwestern's Pierce took third in the meet with a time of 20:07 and the Lady Tigers placed five girls in the top-12 to win the league meet title by 28 points over second place Southern Lehigh.
Paige Stitzel and Rachele Cerrone were ninth and 10th, respectively, and sophomore Rachele Mikols followed closely behind in 12th.
The win has Northwestern primed for even more postseason success in the weeks to come.
"As a team, we want to win the title again at districts," Yost said of capturing a potential second consecutive district championship. "At states, we just want to go out there and lay it on the line and see if we have a shot at the title."
Northern Lehigh's Nina Schnyder was the top finisher for the Lady Bulldogs, coming in 47th.
In a boys meet that was full of contenders, Salisbury's Kyle Gonoude used a midrace surge on the hilly course to take the win with a time of 16:58, 13 seconds ahead of Bangor's Brandon Tocket.
Tocket's second place finish helped a Bangor squad that finished 26-0 in the regular season claim its second consecutive team title, 58-71 over Northwestern.
Ryan Cerrone paced the Tigers with a ninth place finish in a time of 17:52 to earn a medal for a second consecutive year. Teammate Collin Furchner was 11th, just six seconds behind Cerrone.
Although the result wasn't what he was hoping for on this day, Northwestern coach Chris Stitzel knows the Tigers will have a chance to defend their district title against a field that will have a slightly different look to it next week.
"We don't have Bangor anymore since they move up to AAA, so our chances are really good," Stitzel said. "But Notre Dame (Green Pond) is going to be tough; Jim Thorpe will also be tough.
"It's going to be a tight race. But if we can keep our top five guys healthy and they have a good race, we should be able to take the title again this year."
Northern Lehigh's Gavin Kemery paced the Bulldogs with a 22nd place finish in a time of 18:24 while Shaun Seiler had the best run for Palmerton, finishing 39th in 18:57.