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Parkland boys win invitational

The Parkland cross country teams got the 2023 season started with a stellar performance at Saturday’s Northampton Invitational.

The Trojan boys won the team title, led by seniors Paul Abeln and Ethan Willard, who both finished in the top 10. Parkland’s girls team took seventh place against some strong competition, with senior Lana Hurwitz leading the in sixth place in Class 3A and ninth overall.

Abeln finished second overall in 15:39.30, not far behind winner Ian Johnson of Perkiomen Valley, who broke the tape at 15:35.5.

“I wanted to win but he put up a fight,” Abeln said of Johnson’s late kick. “I was hoping to catch him before we got to 600 to go.”

A defending District 11 champ has been the Trojans’ top runner since his sophomore year. During Saturday’s race he had to battle more than just Johnson as he got stung by a bee around the two-mile mark, but kept pushing over the last mile.

“I have to finish the race,” said Abeln. “I kept moving.”

Willard finished fifth overall in 15:56.9 as the Trojans placed their top five runners in the top 27 places among Class 3A runners at the meet.

“I was ideally trying to get top five,” said Willard. “That was my goal.

“I was training harder than I ever have been this summer. Putting in lots of miles. I think it definitely showed today.”

The rest of Parkland’s top five included freshman Colin McGuigan (20th overall/16th Class 3A), senior Tyler Rothrock (28th overall/16th in 3A) and junior Jorge Rinker (34th/27th in 3A). Freshman Brycen Smith (53rd overall/36th in 3A) and sophomore Marcelo Castilla Castano (68th overall/45th in 3A) also ran in the varsity race Saturday.

Parkland ran the race without one member of its line up as senior Jacob Barnes missed the race with an injury. The Trojans took the team title with 71 points, followed by Downingtown East 76, Council Rock South 82, Easton 118, and Pennridge 136. Parkland went unbeaten last year and won boys league and district team titles. The team could be even stronger this season.

“I think our team is as strong as its ever been in program history,” said Abeln. “We have two freshmen that came in that are surprises.”

Willard, a three-year member of the varsity line up, agrees.

“We have our strongest top five that I think we ever had,” he said. “We definitely have bigger goals than we ever have as far as the state meet.”

Parkland’s girls team, which is replacing a few key members of its line up from last season, also returns a district champ as Hurwitz took the girls title last year in just her first season on the cross country team after playing soccer her first two years of high school. She got her senior season off to a good start, running the Bicentennial Park course in 19:05.7 to finish in the top 10 in a race that included 248 runners overall.

“I wasn’t so concerned about place or time,” she said. “I just wanted to get the rust off, get my first race in the books. It’s not exactly where I’d like to be first race, but we have until October when it really matters. I’m happy with my effort today.”

Senior Gracie Trexler (25th overall/19th in 3A), junior Lucy Tobia (60th overall/49th in 3A), sophomore Juliana Varano (72nd overall/56th in 3A) and freshman Madelyn Kruk (75th overall/57th in 3A) made up the rest of Parkland’s top five, while senior Alexandra Ost (92nd overall/65th in 3A) and sophomore Eve Horvath (99th overall/69th in 3A) were also in the line up for Saturday’s varsity race.

Moravian Academy sophomore Virginia Kraus, the Class A defending state champ, took first place in the girls race in 17:42.10, while Sienna Miller (Perkiomen Valley) finished second in 18:18.10.

Emmaus won the girls team title with 91 points. Pennridge was second at 102.

Paul Abeln finished second overall at the Northampton Invitational despite getting stung by a bee two-thirds of the way through the race.
Ethan Willard finished fifth overall at Saturday's Northampton Invitational, helping the Trojan boys take the team title at the meet.
PRESS PHOTOS BY NANCY SCHOLZ Lana Hurwitz finished ninth overall at the Northampton Invitational.