Elk Lake boys take first place

BY SCOTT WALSH

Times-Shamrock Writer

DIMOCK – Luke Jones stood on the other side of the finish line, waiting for Rico Galassi to cross.

When he did, the two rival runners embraced and congratulated each other. Then Jones said, “Let’s go 1-2 again next week.”

As expected, the District 2 Class A boys cross country championship race Wednesday came down to a battle between the two senior standouts.

Jones, from Elk Lake, passed Holy Cross’ Galassi on the final hill before the finish line and pulled away in to win in 18 minutes, 18 seconds. Galassi took second in 18:28.

It is Jones’ third straight District 2 title. His previous two came in Class AA, but this year the PIAA expanded to three classes.

Heavy rains Tuesday and showers Wednesday morning turned the 3.1-mile course at Elk Lake High School into more of a mud bog. But District 2 officials elected to hold the race as scheduled rather than postpone it to Saturday due to the scoring and timing availability.

With Jones leading the way, Elk Lake captured the Class A team title with 46 points. Lackawanna Trail finished second with 69 points and Holy Cross was third with 93 points.

“Of the three (individual titles), this one is the most special because we also won as a team,” Jones said. “We had never won as a team before.”

Indeed, for all the success the Warriors have enjoyed in recent years, this was their first District 2 team crown.

“We’ve had a history of finishing second at districts, then beating the people who beat us at districts at states,” Elk Lake coach Will Squier said. “That’s kind of been our mode of operation. So this one was special for these guys. This is something they own.”

At the two-mile mark of the Class A race, Galassi was leading with Jones right behind him.

“I had a plan and it worked really good,” Galassi said. “I made my move where I was supposed to and was ahead of him.

“But the last 800 meters, he took me over there on the hill. I had nothing left. I’m not a big mud runner and I know he is a big mud runner. But it was a good race.”

This was the third meeting between the two this season with Jones holding a 2-1 edge. They’ll square off again at the PIAA Championships in Hershey on Nov. 3. Both are contenders to win the Class A title.

“I hope me or him can bring it home for District 2,” Jones said.

Eddie Cumens finished fifth for Elk Lake. Hunter Bedell was seventh, Dalton Sherman 14th and Seth Carney 19th to help the Warriors complete their district title.

Meanwhile, Lackawanna Trail had five runners place in the top 22 to earn a state berth as a team for the first time in school history.

Susquehanna’s Brandon Soden placed ninth overall at 20:22 to earn a berth to the state meet, while teammate Justin Acone took 17th at 21:02 to punch his ticket.

Blue Ridge’s Jake Hinkley placed 10th to be the lone state qualifier from the Raiders at 20:30.

Team scores: 1-Elk Lake (EL) 46; 2-Lackawanna Trail (LT) 69; 3-Holy Cross (HC) 93; 4-Blue Ridge (BR) 136; 5-Dunmore (DUN) 152; 6-Lakeland (LAK) 162; 7-Wyoming Seminary (SEM) 216; 8-MMI Prep (MMI) 245; 9-Riverside (RIV) 245; 10-Meyers (MEY) 263; 11-Susquehanna (SUS) 269; 12-Mid Valley (MV) 283; 13-Mountain View (MtV) 348; 14-Forest City (FC) 378.

1-Luke Jones (EL), 18:18

2-Rico Galassi (HC), 18:28

3-Matt Murray (DUN), 19:37

4-Brandon Murray (DUN), 19:46

5-Eddie Cumens (EL), 19:59

6-Devon Clarke (LT), 20:04

7-Hunter Bedell (EL), 20:18

8-Nate Morgan (LAK), 20:19

9-Brandon Soden (SUS), 20:22

10-Jake Hinkley (BR), 20:30

14-Dalton Sherman (EL), 20:52

17-Justin Acone (SUS), 21:02

19-Seth Carney (EL), 21:15

20-TeeJay Loomis (BR), 21:19

24-David Austin (BR), 21:37

26-Brandon Roman (EL), 21:43

32-Matt Horvath (EL), 22:27

41-Ed Gorick (BR), 23:00

43-Jason Vermeulen (EL), 23:09

44-Patrick Cramer (BR), 23:16

46-Chris Carlsen (BR), 23:23

50-Cooper Cole (EL), 23:36

56-Joe Nally (MtV), 23:46

58-George Ward (BR), 23:56

65-Zach Moon (EL), 24:43

68-Jesse Gouin (EL), 24:51

70-Dane Barhite (MtV), 24:55

72-John Brown (EL), 25:25

76-Jake Jake (BR), 25:34

80-Josh Korty (FC), 25:42

86-Matt Ord (MtV), 26:04

88-Tyler Dombrino (FC), 26:09

89-Nick Acosta (SUS), 26:19

98-Jess Korty (FC), 28:02

102-Seth Fluck (MtV), 28:32

103-Sonny Albright (FC), 28:44

104-Neal Albright (FC), 28:44

107-Nick Chamberlain (SUS), 29:24

108-Jake Davenport (BR), 29:31

110-Brad Sherman (SUS), 30:22

115-Sean Branning (SUS), 32:33

118-Doug Martin (MtV), 35:27