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Harriers compete in first meet of season

Whitehall head cross country coach Mike Lelko is optimistic his team can build on their results from their opening meet of the season.

The Zephyrs recently participated in the Moravian Academy Lions Invitational. The girls’ team finished ninth out of 13 teams, while the boys’ netted 13th out of 16 teams.

However, Lelko didn’t look at the big picture. Instead, he focused on his team’s growing work ethic and determination.

“They are really pushing each other,” said the veteran coach. “I am happy that we have about 30 seconds among our top five runners.

“That’s pretty productive at the early point of the season. We expect their times to get lower and be right with each other as the season goes on.”

Sophomore Tessa Hopkins took home a medal with a ninth-place finish, and junior Vinson Eggleston also received one for his 15th-place finish in the junior varsity race.

Junior Makayla Warren was the top Zephyrs’ finisher with a 17th spot in the varsity race in a time of 21:45.

Behind Warren were senior co-captain Mackenzie Laub (24:41, 50th), freshman Grace Tsamutalis (25:56, 60th), senior co-captain Allison Pavone (26:17, 69th) and freshman Kathy Chen (26:19, 70th).

“We’re really happy with our top five girls,” said Lelko. “They did a nice job. Mikayal rana solid race and Mackenzie and Allison were strong. Grace and Kathy have helped us fill out our first five.”

Junior Christian Fohrenkolb paced the boys with a 50th-place finish in 19:36. He was followed by junior Austin Hedrick(53, 19:43), freshman Aiden Borkenhagen (57th, 19:50), and seniors Sean Connelly (62nd, 20:08), Brenden Sargent (79th, 21:03) and Gavin Hagley (80th, 21:05).

“Chrisitan and Austin have been running well,” added Lelko. “Aiden has been a pleasant surprise. Sean and Brenden can be our fourth and fifth runners, and Gavin is right there.”

Lelko is looking forward to the DeSales Invitational Friday. The Zephyrs will begin their league meets next week.

“The kids are hungry,” he said. “This (DeSales) will be where our leagues and districts will be, and we’ll get a good taste of it.

“We’ll be ready.”