Even though she was still 30 yards away from the finish line, a smile started to creep across the face of Cocalico senior Jamie Zamrin.
She knew she was about to win her third-straight Lancaster-Lebanon League Girls’ Cross Country Championship on the course behind Ephrata Middle School on Tuesday afternoon.
Her time of 18:29.7 was 11 seconds better than second place finisher Katie Locker (18:40.6) of Elizabethtown. It also set the meet record.
(Video is Jamie winning the L-L League Cross Country Titles in 2016 with interview & 2015)
The boys’ race also featured local harriers near the top, but with much more suspense. Hempfield senior Christian Groff (16:05.4) nosed out Ephrata junior Andrew Foster (16:05.6) by two tenths of a second. Cocalico junior Evan Kreider was third in a time of 16:09.0, less than four seconds off the pace.
“I was just thinking about staying relaxed the entire time,” explained Zamrin after completing the 3.1 mile course. “I’m just really, really happy. That was probably the best race I’ve had this season planning-wise. It’s really exciting to come back and win this my senior year.”
“It has been such a blessing to be able to be her coach over these years,” said Lady Eagles coach Ron Derr. “To see her develop as a runner. Her maturity showed in just the intelligence that she handled the race today. Letting the race develop and taking command where she needed to. Running one of the fastest times I’ve ever seen on this course…it’s been a privilege and a joy to be with her every step of the way.”
Zamrin bested 140 other runners. Despite the win, Cocalico could only finish 14th out of 18 teams that had enough runners to qualify a team score. Senior Ashley Derr (92nd, 23:19.7), sophomore Abigail Erisman (94, 23:24.3), sophomore Elyssa Sherman (103, 23:54.6) and senior Kayla Oberholtzer (115, 24:30.6) completed the top five finishers.
Ephrata had more success in the team competition, finishing fourth behind Manheim Township, Elizabethtown and Hempfield. The Lady Mounts had three medalists (top 25) and nearly a fourth as they tallied a 133 point total.
Sophomore Mary Campbell (7th, 19:24.2), freshman Alyssa Fedorshak (12th, 19:34.1), senior Sydney Morgan (16th, 19:49.9), senior Nadine Eichenlaub (28th, 20:28.3) and sophomore Sierra Zimmerman (77th, 22:49.5) made the scoresheet for Ephrata.
“I love big meets,” admitted Campbell. “That’s where I do my best. I think all of the big invitationals really help a lot. Last year I was around 11th. It feels good to keep going up. My best friend Alyssa (Fedorshak) is right behind me. She definitely pushes me.”
“From the team standpoint, it really depends on the fourth and fifth runners. The top runners know who they need to race,” explained Ephrata coach Mike Hershberger. “It’s all in the first mile. You have to be in position. Then you have to hold on. On the girls’ side, Sydney Morgan stepped up into 16th place. Fedorshak and Campbell ran really well in 12th and seventh place.”
Eight Ephrata girls plus Cocalico’s Zamrin qualify for the upcoming District Three Championships.
“Off the start, I wanted to get out quickly, I didn’t want to get boxed in,” described Foster of his duel with Groff. “Last week I raced against the Sharf brothers (E-Town). I knew they would take it out quickly. I just tried to stay with whoever was in the front the entire race. With around 800 meters left, we just took off and went for it.”
“The boys race played out pretty much how I thought it would,” said Hershberger. “I told Andrew, ‘you’ve got to go with the top group. People are going to fall off. Don’t be one of those people.’”
As it turned out, the two top boys had the exact same result in the September 26 dual meet at Solanco. Foster’s time was one second off his personal record (PR), which he set in finishing fourth at the Carlisle Invitational on September 30.
The Mounts finished 14th of 20 complete teams that competed on Tuesday. In addition to Foster, sophomore Ray Truex (62nd, 17:52.4), junior Goeffrey Goldman (82nd, 18:08.4), freshman Nathan Kimmel (88th, 18:18.6) and senior Seth Bollinger (97th, 18:34.2) filled out the top five.
Section Two champion Cocalico fared much better in the team competition, finishing third (109 points) behind Hempfield (72) and Cedar Crest (102).
Leading Cocalico behind Kreider were junior Dylan Becker (15th, 16:52.0), senior Evan Trowbridge (26th, 17:05.9), senior Dan Main (31st, 17:17.3) and junior Max McCormack (34th, 17:19.2).
“It’s really been a magical year for us,” said Derr. “The guys came here (League Meet) wanting to be included in the conversation. We knew Hempfield was the favorite from Section One. They run the race for a reason. On this day, we wanted to see who the best is. Hempfield earned it. They were the best team out there today.”
Up next for Kreider and his mates is the District Three Meet.
“You have to go out hard. You have to stay within yourself, obviously,” declared the Cocalico junior. “We’ll cut mileage. Go into more of the intense speed-based kind of workouts. Mentally focusing. There’s no more dual meets. You’re training for the big races.”
The District Meet will be held Saturday, Oct. 28 at Big Spring High School.
2017 Final Cross Country Team Standings: