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Emmaus Girls XC faces challenges, opportunities

No team tackled the East Penn Conference terrain and trails with more agility last season than the Emmaus girls cross country team. Experience, quality, depth, talent, skills and desire to win. You name it, they had it, and they have the gold to prove it.

Now it’s a new season and the hunters have become the hunted. A strong and large senior class that won the District 11 Class 3A title is gone, and head coach Kami Reinhard has realistic expectations for 2021.

“I read a preview the other day which placed the Emmaus girls team as underdogs,” said Reinhard. “It is true that the team lost five out of our top seven from last year, so it is surely a rebuilding year.”

The plan is stay close to the top as possible, and to remember that patience is a virtue.

“We have had some girls step into some pretty big shoes already,” said the coach. “So we will be patient to see how far this team can go.”

Just how far they go this fall could depend on just how far the girls ran this summer. Reinhard compares summer cross country training to a house’s foundation.

“Without a strong foundation, the house isn’t stable,” said Reinhard. “So it’s essential to start the cross country season with a strong base.”

This summer’s training had the girls doing more than just slowly building up mileage. Rather, the Hornet coaching staff touched upon a few of the little things that can turn ordinary into extraordinary. In addition, the athletes answered weekly questions throughout the summer to help the coaching staff learn more about their goals heading into the season.

Reinhard has two very good runners in senior Isabela Lees and junior Hailey Reinhard. The duo are the only two returning members of the 2020 District 11 championship team and they know what it takes to win. They’ll set the standard for this year’s group. Seniors Bethany Brown and Madison Toretta have already impressed Reinhard and her staff, showing they are ready to be consistent members of the varsity.

Freshman Payton Campbell is an athlete Emmaus fans should watch this season. Campbell continues to improve with each passing week, and is on par with Lees and Reinhard. Sophomore Sophia Kovalski and junior Nicole Nosal are coming off strong track seasons. Reinhard expects that to translate into improved cross country times as well.

Sophomore Brooke Miller along with freshmen Isabella Scarlata and Addison Shank have dug in over the warm weather months, consistently attending summer practice. All three are poised to break in the team’s top 10.

The girls open the season Sept. 4 at the Northampton Invitational.

“Opportunities are wide open for our girls team,” said Reinhard. “So that should be a motivating factor for them.”

PRESS PHOTO BY MIKE HAINES The 2021 Emmaus High School girls cross country team.