SCOTT TWP. — Katie Dammer from Abington Heights, Lexi Walsh from Holy Cross and Mia Bellucci from Scranton Prep all led dominant efforts Wednesday in the girls races at the District 2 Cross Country Championships.
Dammer, Walsh and Bellucci won by at least 38 seconds to lead their teams to titles by 42 or more points.
With championship suspense eliminated early in each race, the day’s most interesting races developed for second place in Class 2A, the only one where District 2 sends a second team to Hershey.
Dallas worked through a tight four-team race for second to make up for last year’s disappointment and return to the state meet for the seventh time in eight years.
Holy Redeemer’s Lindsey Williams, last year’s champion, worked her way through a difficult start to surge to a comfortable second-place individual finish.
“I’m ecstatic,” Dallas coach Matt Samuel said. “The girls finishing second is like finishing first for me.
“It’s a great team. They’ve worked hard all year and they’ve been tremendously together to bounce back from the way we finished up here last year.”
Dallas arrived at Lakeland in 2016 as the unbeaten Wyoming Valley Conference champions, but was knocked out when it finished a district third behind surprise-winner Honesdale and Scranton Prep.
The Mountaineers, once again coming off an unbeaten regular season, edged Honesdale, 80-94, for the second state berth while also beating out Lake-Lehman (105) and Holy Redeemer (113).
Williams made Holy Redeemer the best of the second-place contenders at the number-one spot. Lake-Lehman had the best number-three runner. Honesdale was best at the fifth position.
Dallas, however, had the best combination of depth and balance.
Sophomore Megan Borton’s third-place finish led the team, Kaitlyn Hodakowski, Madison Baloga and Abby Zolner also made the top 21 and the combination of Grace Jarden, Emily Finnegan and Rebecca Balara in 31st through 33rd place made Dallas the first team to get all seven runners in.
Williams did not have the start she sought.
“For the first 800 meters, I felt kind of trapped,” she said. “I was not where I wanted to be.”
Bellucci was long gone as Williams worked her way up through the field, going wider than she wanted to in order to get past some and eventually settle into second place.
“I’m just going to forget about this and use it as a lesson and try to have a positive attitude about it,” Williams said.
Williams, teammate Anna Capaci and the top three Lake-Lehman runners were among the 10 individual qualifiers joining the Scranton Prep and Dallas teams for the Nov. 4 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships.
Jade Fry was seventh, Jace Garnick 11th and Abby Paczewski 13th for Lake-Lehman.
The top 20 received individual medals. Holy Redeemer’s Destiny Andes joined the five individual qualifiers and the Dallas top three of Borton, Hodakowski and Baloga in that group.
Hazleton Area’s Katie Balay, Pittston Area’s Nicole Zambetti and Wyoming Seminary’s April Kupsky also earned berths in the state meet by finishing among the top five individuals from the non-championship teams in their races.
Balay was sixth and Zambetti seventh in Class 3A, which was a District 2-4 Subregional.
April Kupsky was sixth in Class A where her sister, Tara Kupsky, placed 15th to join her as a medalist.
Heather Paglia added a 19th-place finish to help the Blue Knights finish second to Holy Cross.
The Lady Crusaders won with 24 points. Wyoming Seminary edged host Lakeland, 72-73, for second.