We reach the midpoint of the Lackawanna League cross country regular season this week. Before we know it, the runners will be on the starting line at Lakeland High School for the District 2 Championships on Oct. 23.
So far through the first three weeks of the season, some things have gone as expected and some others that have been a bit surprising.
On the boys side, Holy Cross senior Andrew Healey is living up to his preseason billing. Ranked No. 10 overall in the state by PennTrackXC.com, Healey has won all three league meets. He also placed second in the Boys White (Class 1A) race this weekend at the PIAA Foundation Invitational at Hershey and was top Pennsylvania finisher (8th overall) at the PTXC11 race in Kutztown on Sept. 7.
Junior teammate Kevin Jumper has emerged and given Holy Cross a solid 1-2 punch. It’s one of the reasons the Crusaders are off to a 10-0 start.
Delaware Valley (9-0) is the other unbeaten boys team. The Warriors are led by Adam Kanterman, who has a pair of league meet wins.
Scranton and Mid Valley are both 8-1. The Knights are led by senior Josh Christianson, who has two league meet wins. He also repeated as Cliff Robbins Invitational champion, was eighth in the Boys Gold (Class 3A) race at the PIAA Foundation and 14th at the PTXC11 race in Kutztown.The Spartans are paced by freshman Michael Novak and juniors Colin Pacyna and Christian Snee.
When North Pocono defeated Wallenpaupack, 25-32, in Week 3, it halted the Buckhorns’ winning streak at 51. They had not lost since the final meet of the 2016 season — Oct. 19 to Scranton Prep, 25-31. Since then, Wallenpaupack had won consecutive league titles, going 22-0 in 2017, 21-0 in 2018 and starting 8-0 this season.
North Pocono is being led by sophomore Caleb Kenyon, who has three league meet wins and also won the Lackawanna County Commissioners Invitational.
For the girls, led by its freshman tandem of Bella Noreika and Amelia King, Scranton is off to a 9-0 start. Noreika has won three league races and has twice set school records.
Abington Heights and Valley View are both 8-0. Junior Abby Marion leads the Lady Comets, who have received an unexpected boost from freshman Maia Archangelo as their No. 2 runner.
Meanwhile, the Cougars continue to be ranked No. 5 in the state in Class 2A by PennTrackXC.com behind Northern, South Fayette, Warrior Run and Central Cambria. Sophomores Brianna Zipay, Samantha Adams and Kaitlyn Newberry are among the leaders for Valley View.
Elk Lake sophomore Krista Jones, Forest City sophomore Rachel Korty and Holy Cross senior Molly Repecki have won two league meets apiece.
Two runners to keep an eye on for the future are at Mountain View: sophomore Kathryn Long and freshman GG Larkin.
Week 4 is when teams not only run against an opposing cluster, but against the teams within their cluster. That sets up some interesting matchups: girls unbeatens Valley View and Abington Heights; Holy Cross vs. Scranton Prep girls (both 9-1); and Scranton and Mid Valley boys.
Also, unbeatens Holy Cross and Delaware Valley boys race for first place at McDade Park. Scranton Prep and Wallenpaupack are also a part of that meet.
Listed below are the Lackawanna League standings after Week 3:
During more than 30 years at The Times-Tribune, Scott has covered everything from high schools to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. His current beats include motor sports, local colleges and high school cross country. He also is a copy editor and page designer. His articles have won awards from the Associated Press Sports Editors, American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association, Eastern Motorsports Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Keystone Press. He also has been honored by the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League and the Minor League Football Alliance. In 2016, he was presented the Media Service Award by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. A Long Island, New York, native, Scott graduated from the University of Scranton in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He lives in Peckville with his wife, Andrea, and daughters, Bridget and Emily. Contact him at email@example.com; 570-348-9100, x5109; or @swalshTT on Twitter