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Parkland girls win District 11 team title; Stoudt places second

Competition has driven Parkland's Mikayla Stoudt all year.

That is, when she's had competition.

Stoudt has been in a league of her own throughout much of the season, finishing first in each of the Trojans' five conference quad meets and claiming the Lehigh Valley Conference championship meet after taking second a year ago.

That success earned her Lehigh Valley Conference MVP, no small feat for a sophomore.

Those achievements led to high expectations at last week's District 11 Class AAA race, where Stoudt was matched up against Pottsville's Paige Stoner, who had a similarly dominant season in the Schuylkill League.

But the potential dual between the two talented runners never materialized, as Stoner led for the majority of the race and claimed her second district title and first since 2011 in a time of 18:46.

"That was a great race, one of the best all season," Stoudt said. "Paige is a really good runner and I'm happy she pushed me as hard as she did.

"The gap kept getting bigger toward halfway and was almost 20 seconds. But I ended up closing it to about 10."

While the disappointment of finishing second was undeniable, Stoudt was pleased with her time of 18:59, nearly a full minute faster than a week earlier at the LVC championships, also contested at the Bethlehem Municipal Golf Course and more than good enough to make her a threat at this weekend's PIAA Championships.

"I'm happy," Stoudt said. "I would have loved to get first, anybody that's competitive would. But I'm happy with my time and I'm happy with my place."

Stoudt won't be going to Hershey alone, as Parkland capped an undefeated season by winning the team title on the strength of five top-18 finishers. Melissa Lukas placed ninth, Madeline LeFrock 15th, Kara Moyer 17th and Alexis Dongvort 18th.

"I am so, so proud of my team," Stoudt said. "We lost five seniors (from) last year and this team has worked so hard this year. I think we are better than we were last season because we're all just so dedicated and determined. It's a really great accomplishment with the girls that we have."

The title was the Trojans' third straight and fifth in school history, but never a sure thing for a squad that overcame a number of key losses from a year ago.

"I'm very proud of the girls," said Parkland coach Loretta Dodson. "At the beginning of the season, no one had us to be in the mix. But we just kept working and the girls just kept performing and I'm very proud of their performance today and what they've done throughout the season."

As Stoudt moves on to her second consecutive state meet, Dodson sees no reason the talented sophomore won't be competitive, this time at full strength.

"She competed in the state meet a year ago and earned a medal on a broken toe," the coach said. "I think she can be in medal range again and do very well this year."