Hornets sweep Cougars in grand finale
By Kevin Edwards
Tri-County Independent USA TODAY NETWORK
ARCHBALD — The Lackawanna League cross country season came to an end this week with dual meets all over the region.
On Tuesday evening, all eyes were focused on Archbald as Honesdale squared off with Valley View in a contest that would decide the Division I title.
When the dust settled, both varsity teams had emerged triumphant, closing out the campaign on a high note.
Coach Lindsey Pender’s girls grabbed the headlines.
The Lady Hornets powered their way to a 25-30 decision, and in so doing sealed the deal on a divisional crown.
“I challenged them to not take a moment for granted,” Coach Pender said. “We knew we would be fast, but to put together the season they did is just beyond amazing.”
Honesdale’s boys squad also turned in a stellar performance, finishing out the year with a 20-37 victory.
The Hornets wound up with a 4-2 league record, earning high marks for resiliency from their veteran mentor.
“I told them last night that their dedication and drive would carry them through,” she said.
“These kids really wanted it! They won four straight meets, upsetting some teams that we never thought we would beat.”
Weather and pandemic permitting, both squads will be competing at the District Two Meet.
The boys race is scheduled for Wednesday, October 28, while the girls will be in action Saturday, October 31. Both events will be held at Lakeland High School.
Back in August, Honesdale’s coaching staff was legitimately concerned that the 2020 cross country season wouldn’t even happen.
Two months later, the Lady Hornets are celebrating a Division I championship having posted a perfect 6-0 record.
The road to that title culminated Tuesday with the team’s win over Valley View.
“This was emotional overload!” exclaimed Coach Pender. “Such a mix of emotions. Pure joy, relief and excitement. You couldn’t ask for these kids to have worked or raced any harder.”
Brenna Dahlgren once again led the way. The
freshman phenom rocketed to victory, covering the 3.1-mile course in 20:19. She was chased home by teammates Rachael Collins (20:55), Mia Hall (21:08), Kira Fox (22:09) and Ivy Brinkerhoff (22:17).
Also contributing to the Red & Black attack were: Jocelyn Barnes (23:26), Tess Meagher (25:28), Kate Dowling (26:49) and Alexandra Skidmore (27:19).
“These girls are something spectacular,” Coach Pender said simply.
On the boys side of the ledger, Honesdale sizzled once again.
Paced by another stellar effort by Aidan LaTourette, the Hornets posted their fourth consecutive win. The sophomore sensation crossed the line in a time of 17:14.
“Aidan has had an amazing season,” Coach Pender said. “He runs each race with the pursuit of a win. Even though he’s just a sophomore, Aidan is a team leader.”
LaTourette was joined in the overall Top 10 by teammates Joey Taraschuk (17:40), Eric Lukan (17:56), JP Ahern (19:01) and Logan Novobilski (19:36).
Also chipping in were: Evin Schultz (20:42), Ben Swartz (20:54), Derek Jensen (22:08), Gage Dickison (24:11) and Skyler LeClere (24:13).
On the heels of these clutch performances, both boys and girls teams enjoyed a rare day off from practice.
According to Coach Pender, though, they’ll be hard at it again Thursday in the run-up to districts.
“We don’t stop now,” she said. “We have to work even harder. Sometimes we limit ourselves or don’t dream big enough.
“This season more than ever we cherish each step, we rise up, we run, and we go for the win!”