NEWVILLE — John Ambrosio was a believer, even if almost nobody else was.
And his Chambersburg boys cross country team proved Ambrosio right Saturday afternoon at the District 3 Cross Country Championships at Big Spring H.S.
The Trojans rode a great run by No. 5 Julian Clark to a district Class 3A title, its first since 2011, edging Manheim Township 114-117.
Ambrosio said, “I was being interviewed by PAMileSplit and the guy seemed shocked when I told him I thought we could win it. Manheim Township is ranked No. 3 in the state and Hershey is No. 7 and we were No. 15. But we’d lost to Hershey twice by a point (in invitationals) and they lost to Township by a point, so I thought we had a chance.”
The Chambersburg girls also had a good day, taking second place behind Manheim Township. Both teams qualified for the PIAA Championships next weekend in Hershey.
For the Trojan boys, Ari Snyder ran a time of 16:00.9 over the 5,000-meter course to take fourth place overall. That was an expected finish for Snyder.
Liam Kirkpatrick had perhaps his best day of the season, taking 9th place in 16:21.1 and Owen Shrader was 16th in 16:29.5. Aiden Alleman placed 45th (17:12.2) and Clark was 49th in 17:15.9.
Ambrosio said, “Kirkpatrick and Shrader had good days — Kirkpatrick was 16th at Mid Penns and Shrader was 14th. Alleman did OK — he really hung in there in the second half of the race.
“After those four, we were 7 points behind Manheim Township. But Clark finished 10 places ahead of their No. 5 guy, so that made up the difference.”
The last time Chambersburg qualified for states as a team was also 2011.
“I was absolutely thrilled to be going to states,” Ambrosio said. “And then having three guys medal and winning the team title was even better. These guys just can’t wait to get to Saturdays — they are gamers.”
The Trojan girls also placed ahead of expectations, coming in ranked behind Manheim Township and Exeter Township. They scored 178 points while the Blue Streaks won with 110.
“I was super pleased with the girls,” coach Chris Monheim said. “Manheim Township was clearly in front, and there were about four or five teams in the running for states.”
And Chambersburg took care of business, despite No. 1 runner Lexi Boyd being hindered by a hamstring injury. She ended up in 33rd place with a time of 20:32.9.
“She is dealing with an injury so she didn’t finish in her normal spot,” Monheim said. “But the other girls did great to make up for it.”
Madelyn Koons had a fine race, placing 17th in 19:49.1 to lead the team. Also scoring were Samantha Faust (37th, 20:43.8), Brook Boone (54th, 21:13.8) and Dana Rosenberry (56th, 21:18.5).
Monheim said, “It was nice to see Maddie Koons get a district medal. The other girls were outstanding — I think it was our best team effort of the season. They all finished higher than they were projected to.”
For states, which is next Saturday at Hershey, Monheim hopes Boyd will be back closer to 100%.
“I hope she can be,” he said. “We have a top-10 kind of team is she’s OK.”