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NL gets healthier, better

For the first few weeks of the Colonial League regular season, the Northern Lehigh boys' and girls' cross country teams have been slowed down a bit by injuries.

Entering their fourth meet of the season, the Bulldogs were able to heal all wounds with a superb performance in Slatington.It was a great "homecoming" for the Northern Lehigh harriers as the programs combined for a 10-2 mark on the day. In fact, both the boys' and girls' dropped identical 19-37 setbacks to the same team Notre Dame of Green Pond but posted victories against the other five competing teams.It definitely showed what Northern Lehigh head coach Dave Oertner's programs are capable of doing."We're starting to get healthy," said a happy Oertner. "We had some injuries for awhile. Last week, we actually had two kids taking a test at Lehigh. So, today we had a full boat. It was nice to have a full team to run strong."We did pretty well. It's a sign that we're going to be even better down the road in the bigger meets at the end of the season with leagues and districts. We hope we can do well there too."Northern Lehigh senior Stephanie Pryor was simply glad to see her rejuvinated Lady Bulldogs (12-7 on the season) emerge with a 5-1 record on the day."Well, we have been trying to catch up to all the rest of the teams," Pryor said. "We had a bit of a rough start with people with injuries and illness. We're finally starting to get back into the swing of things."Pryor paced the Lady Bulldogs with a season-best sixth-place finish, in which she finished in a time of 21:26. It was a little over a minute behind Southern Lehigh's Chelsea Rivenbark, who crossed the finish first. The Bulldogs' Megan Rex grabbed a top-10 finish as well finishing in eighth-place.The rest of the Bulldogs' lineup finished in a close pack as Samantha Corcoran, Julie Wagaman and Briana Riddick finished 14th, 16th and 18th respectively.Just as Pryor shined in her final trot around the Bulldogs' home course, so did classmate Ryan Fronheiser.Fronheiser took it one step further setting a career-best mark by breaking the top-10 in the boys' meet. The senior set a personal best of 18:33 on his home course.It wasn't about his ninth-place finish though. Fronheiser was more concerned about the overall performance of the rest of the boys' team."Our guys are just running really well lately," Fronheiser said. "We have been working hard all year. We have been running together for awhile since most of the guys have been around (the program) for awhile. It's finally coming together."The rest of the Bulldogs' point producers finished right behind Fronheiser.Austin Danish, Zach Fleming and Aaron Rarick stuck together in a pack and crossed the finish line in 12th, 13th and 14th. Scott Showiak ended up in 19th to cap the Bulldogs' scoring."You want to run your best in the end when you're entering the big meets," Oertner said. "That's what you want to do. Today, we showed that we're not a bad program if we're healthy."GIRLSNo. Lehigh 27, Bangor 29No. Lehigh 15, Catasauqua 50No. Lehigh 15, No. Dame (ES) 50No. Lehigh 18, Salisbury 45No. Lehigh 25, So. Lehigh 33No. Dame (GP) 19, No. Lehigh 371. Chelsea Rivenbark (SL) 20:16, 2. Erika Edwards (NDGP) 20:35, 3. Katie Downing (NDGP) 21:08, 4. Casey McGinty (SL) 21:16, 5. Colleen Kelly (NDGP) 21:18, 6. Stephanie Pryor (NL), 7. Alexandra Neffue (B), 8. Megan Rex (NL), 9. Brittany White (B), 10. Allison Constant (NDGP), 11. Julia Figuccio (B), 12. Taylor Gonouse (S), 13. Rachel Constant (NDGP), 14. Samantha Corcoran (NL), 15. Lindsay Colton (B).BOYSNo. Lehigh 19, Bangor 43No. Lehigh 20, Salisbury 42No. Lehigh 20, Catasauqua 40No. Lehigh 26, No. Dame (ES) 30No. Lehigh 20, So. Lehigh 39No. Dame (GP) 19, No. Lehigh 371. Brian Megee (NDGP) 17:45, 2. Eric Busher (NDGP) 17:45, 3. Mike Martinsky (NDGP) 17:48, 4. Brett Brett Gubitosi (NDES) 17:53, 5. Dennis Peterson (S) 18:23, 6. Justin Tondt (NDES), 7. Dylan Decker (NDGP), 8. Jacob Cermak (SL), 9. Ryan Fronheiser (NL), 10. Timothy DeSario (B), 11. Jaryth Bollinger (C), 12. Austin Danish (NL), 13. Zach Fleming (NL), 14. Aaron Rarick (NL), 15. Anthony Saraceno (NDGP).

BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Austin Danish of Northern Lehigh leads a group of runners. In the background is the Bulldogs' Ryan Fronheiser.