CHAPMAN LAKE — Lindsey Williams figured if she ran with the leaders as long as possible, she was destined to post a good time and finish high in the District 2 Cross Country Championships Wednesday at Lakeland High School.
The Holy Redeemer junior ran at the front so long that when she made her final push, it separated Williams from the last of the contenders and carried her to the Class 2A girls championship.
In the first year of the championships at Lakeland, Williams completed the unfamiliar course in 19:37.63 to win by almost eight seconds over Mackenzie LaMorte from team champion Honesdale.
By the midway point in the race, Williams and Montrose freshman Hannah Perkins had made their way to the lead.
“I just wanted to run with her because I knew she had good times,” Williams said. “I thought if I stuck with her, I’d end up with a good time.”
Other than running with the leaders, it was difficult for Williams to develop a race strategy on a course she did not see until the morning of the race.
“It’s harder to visualize your race,” she said. “But after we walked through the course, I saw that it was not that hard.”
Williams, who said she arrived at Lakeland thinking third place was a reasonable goal, wound up exceeding that in her third year in the sport and second on the varsity level.
Holy Redeemer coach Paul Hoda said he was not surprised by Williams, who was a sprinter when she first took up track and had started out in junior high playing field hockey.
“Even when she was a freshman in track, I saw that what Lindsey sets her mind to, she can accomplish,” Hoda said. “She has confidence in herself and she’s a very hard worker.
“Those two things together are very hard to beat.”
None of the other 100 Class 2A girls could beat that combination Wednesday.
Williams stood out on what was generally a tough day for Wyoming Valley Conference girls runners.
The Lackawanna League swept all three team titles and all four state team berths while taking 12 of the 20 individual spots in Hershey that go to runners who are not on qualifying teams.
The WVC was at its best in Class 2A.
Dallas and Lake-Lehman finished third and fourth behind state qualifiers Honesdale and Scranton Prep and Williams was one of six individuals among the 10 qualifiers.
Berwick’s Sam Dyer, Dallas’ Megan Borton and Riley Oremus, Holy Redeemer’s Destiny Andes and Lake-Lehman’s Jade Fry all made it to Hershey for the Nov. 5 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships. Borton and Andes qualified as freshmen.
Hazleton Area is sending Mary Everdale, who was third, and Ariana Stranko, who was seventh, to the state meet in Class 3A. The Cougars finished second to team champion Abington Heights, 51-70, in what was a District 2-4 Subregional in the largest classification.
Medals were awarded to the top 20 in Class 2A, 15 in Class A and 10 in Class 3A.
Other medalists from the WVC were: Madison Baloga from Dallas, Jace Garnick from Lake-Lehman, Tara Kupsky from Wyoming Seminary, Arianna Boccardi from Pittston Area and Steph Yanochko from Hazleton Area.