NEWVILLE — If you needed evidence that cross country can be a team sport, you only have to look at what the Greencastle-Antrim boys achieved Saturday.
The Blue Devils did not have a finisher in the top 11 individually at the District 3 Class 3A Championships at Big Spring H.S. on Saturday, but they did have all five runners place in the top 38.
And that was just enough — by a razor’s edge — for Greencastle to win the District 3 team title.
The Blue Devils scored 139 points, one better than runner-up Hempfield and five more ahead of Manheim Township.
It was Greencastle’s seventh District 3 boys team championship, but the first since 1987 when G-A won the last of four consecutive titles. It was also the school’s first Class 3A crown.
Blue Devil coach Rich Secrest said, “When I saw that all five guys had finished under 16:35, I knew we were in good shape, and I figured we were in the top five. They were just giving out the awards for the girls race when I saw some kid had a sheet of results in his hand and I overheard him say that Greencastle had won.”
Hayden Parks, a junior, was the first finisher for Greencastle, taking 12th in 16:03.3.
“He went out super fast, and at one point, he was in fourth place — we needed somebody to do that,” Secrest said.
What won it for the Blue Devils was that the next four runners all finished within eight places of each other — sophomore Joel Amstutz was 31st in 16:25.1, senior Caden Hudson took 34th in 16:32.3, senior Dalton Noblit was 36th in 16:33.1 and senior Kyle Baker placed 38th in 16:35.0.
The team’s time gap was only 32 seconds from first to fifth.
Secrest said, “Joel had a PR by 30 seconds, which was huge. And Kyle ran 18:20 on this course last year and had 16:35 today.
“I’m so happy for these guys. It was a really awesome experience to compete against these teams, and it makes all the sacrifices the boys made pay off. We just told them to do it for guy beside you, and they did.”
G-A will compete as a team in the PIAA State Championships next Saturday at Hershey.
The championship capped an incredible week for Greencastle sports. The girls soccer and girls volleyball teams each picked up wins in the first round and quarterfinal round of their District 3 tournaments, the football team ended a long losing streak against Shippensburg, Claire Paci was second in the girls X-C race and the boys won the team title.
Chambersburg finished 11th in the team standings with 318 points, and Trojan coach John Ambrosio was quite happy with the results.
“We weren’t expected to even compete at districts as a team, and then we were projected about 15th, so I’m happy,” Ambrosio said. “We have overachieved all year.”
Ari Snyder, a junior, placed 16th with a time of 16:06.3 and freshman Aden Alleman took 65th (17:04.9). Also, senior Ryan Benbow was 72nd in 17:14.5, junior Owen Shrader took 84th in 18:19.6 and sophomore Liam Kirkpatrick was 114th in 17:38.4.
Ambrosio said, “Four of the seven guys had exceptional days. Our only senior, Benbow, had his best race ever, Alleman was the second freshman across the line and Shrader and Kirkpatrick both took a lot of time off from where they started this year.
“I think we’ll be poised to have a good year next year.”
Waynesboro’s Joseph Jacobs earned a 43rd place with his time of 16:40.5.