EHS girls XC goes undefeated
If you blinked, you may have missed it.
The 2020 Emmaus Green Hornets cross country regular season quickly came and went. It was another round of perfection for coach Kelly Bracetty’s girls squad (5-0), including an impressive season-ending wing over Parkland on Oct. 14. The boys also had a strong season, finishing 4-1 with the blemish coming to Parkland on the same day.
“Both girls and boys had a terrific season,” said Bracetty. “Our girls team has remained undefeated for three years in a row, accumulating a 39-0 record. It’s not the record that impresses me as much as it is the teamwork that is displayed each race.”
This season, one unlike any other, required Bracetty to take unusual steps. She relied heavily on assistant coaches Kami Reinhard and Page Woodbury.
“Kami has been a big help in navigating through this season of Covid by thinking of different solutions as things are constantly changing,” Bracetty said. “Kami stepped in and volunteered to take and record all 80 of our athlete’s temperatures every day before practice. [Woodbury] invests a lot of time into knowing every athlete, motivating them to do their best and helping them believe in themselves. He is always putting the kids first.”
Other situations required Bracetty’s leadership.
“I made a tough decision to split the athletes into smaller training pods of four-to-five to prevent Covid from threatening to wipe out our entire team,” she said. “I wasn’t sure how that would affect them during race day, but they’ve raced as if nothing changed and continue to finish in a strong pack each race.”
Case in point - the Whitehall meet on Oct. 6. Bracetty sat out her top six runners on both sides so that her younger runners would have a chance at the spotlight.
“I felt it was important to give the younger kids a leadership role,” said Bracetty. “I wasn’t surprised to see them go out and help push each other to their fastest times this season while getting the win for the team.”
Sophia Kovaliski and Addison Shank on the girls side and Oscar Felegy and Brandon Buonanno on the boys side were four runners who performed well against the Zephyrs.
“Sophia has such a positive attitude and never looks for the easy way out,” said Bracetty. “Addison has unlimited potential and comes to us with more running experience than any other freshman. She has a work ethic that goes unmatched.”
Felegy “is one of our most improved athletes this season,” she said. He dropped more than one minute off his freshman time to run at the 17:36 mark against Whitehall. “He totally committed to the training this summer and even on the hottest days, I would see him out there logging miles.”
Buonanno “runs his heart out every race and has the drive to be a top runner,” his coach said. “I’ll never forget when he lost his shoe during a race this season. Instead of slowing down, he ran the next two miles barefoot and finished up there with our top group of guys.”
Bracetty said the Parkland teams were biggest competition the Green Hornets would face before districts. The races proved challenging not only because of the competition, but because of a course with 65 different cues on hilly and uneven terrain. Thanks to Covid restrictions, the Green Hornets were unable to preview the course beforehand. Nevertheless, Emmaus’ girls team won 21-37 to finish 5-0 this season. The boys received their first loss on the year 39-18.
District competition is scheduled for Oct. 28.
Results from Emmaus’s season-ending meet against Parkland, Wed., Oct. 14.
Emmaus 21, Parkland 37
1. Ashleigh McNellis (E) 20:40, 2. Hailey Reinhard (E), 3. Brooke Labenberg (P), 4. Elena Wenger (P), 5. Belle Lees (E), 6. Keerstin Augustin (E), 7. Kera Reinhard (E), 8. Clara Kennedy (E), 9. Ava Bendetti (P), 10. Jessica Price (P), 11. Lauren Williams (P), 12. Gracie Trexler (P), 13. Zoe Patselas (P), 14. Olympia Curley-Katrishan (E), 15. Madison Torretta (E).
Parkland 18, Emmaus 39
1. Benjamin Esquieres (P) 18:02, 2. Brady Hoffman (P), 3. Josh Beltrame (P), 4. Geoffrey Kleinberg (E), 5. Paul Abeln (P), 6. Nic Buonanno (E), 7. Brian Warren (P), 8. Ethan Strzempak (E), 9. Cameron Price (P), 10. Keshav Shankar (E), 11. Sam Dalton (E), 12. Cameron Carter (E), 13. Avi Hochhauser (P), 14. Dominic Nunes (E), 15. Ethan Willard (P).