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Cross country teams finish seasons with winning marks

As the fall seasons wrap up across the Lehigh Valley, most teams probably agree they are thankful they were able to play.

The Northampton cross country teams took advantage of their ability to compete, as the girls finished 3-2 and the boys went 4-1. Most recently, the team had a meet on Nov. 4 against Becahi. The girls won 19-40 and the boys won 18-43.

“Our crazy 2020 regular season finally came to an end on Wednesday, Nov. 4, as we had a rescheduled meet against Becahi at Bicentennial Park,” said head coach Dan Benner. “As far as I know, it was first ever regular season meet we have ever had in November, so that is a memory to take from 2020.”

Benner said the boys 4-1 record earned them a share of the EPC County Division Championship with Freedom and Nazareth, which were also 4-1 on the season. It capped a great, four-year run with the senior class as they progressed from 8-9, to 11-6, to 12-5, to finally going 4-1 as one of the best teams in the area, Benner said.

The girls 3-2 record was their fourth-straight winning season, too.

“The senior class of girls never had a losing record,” Benner said. “This is the first group, boys or girls, who can say that in a very long time in this program.”

While the 2020 season wasn’t like any other, Benner seemed pleased with the way some aspects of the season came to an end.

“In a crazy and hectic 2020 year, I felt it was very poetic that we got to race one final time at our home course of Bicentennial Park, especially for our seniors,” Benner said. “Some of them have been racing here for the past six years, so it was a nice way to close things out. We had 12 seniors on the team this year and 10 racing on the day.”

The seniors were Georgia Wiswesser, Amber Poniktera, Noelle Eisenreich, Owen Nahf, Wyatt Poniktera, Nick Amato, Matt Heisler, Ben Heymach, Nico Quinones, Griffyn Wacik, Ambrose Roland, and Filipe Valerio.

“For Georgia and Owen, considering they were a part of this program since they were in seventh grade and accomplished as much as they did throughout their time with us, it was a neat experience that they got to win their last races with us,” Benner said.

One thing Benner wishes would have been different was having more of his kids qualify for the state meet. While Zeke Colyer made the trip to states to represent the K-Kids, Benner pointed out Poniktera and Brianna Tyler would have been state qualifiers in a non-COVID year based on their finishes at the District 11 meet.

“It was very fitting that Amber and Georgia went one and two in that last meet at Bicentennial against Becahi because so much of the team’s success over the past two years is tied to those two and the success they had together,” Benner said.

Contributed photo The 2020 Kids cross country team had a good year, with the boys going 4-1 and the girls going 3-2.