Fresh off PIAA meet, Quaker Valley runners look forward to 2013 season
After retaining both the boys and girls WPIAL Class AA titles last week, neither team for Quaker Valley was able to refuel in time for Saturday's state championship meet in Hershey.
“We had so many problems all season, and we really focused on running the WPIAL race well, and I just think it was a huge let down after that,” coach David Noyes said. “In their minds at least, their season was done after the WPIAL (meet). It was really tough to get it back. I could tell the week leading up to states that they just didn't seem to have their heads into training any longer. They just put so much effort into the WPIALs that they kind of shut down after that.”
The boys placed seventh at the state meet with 232 points, while Pottsgrove snagged first among 20 teams. Junior Luke Kropf and senior Roy Hadfield tied for 16th, with a time of 17:22.
“We didn't really have too much pressure going into it,” Hadfield said. “I went in with too much confidence and didn't do too well myself, but our second runner he was right with me, he had a pretty good race.”
Kropf's only other race this year was the Red, White and Blue Invitational before he was benched with a calf injury the rest of the season. For him, the state meet was an amazing comeback.
“I felt kind of like it was an average day, but something just clicked during the race and I just kept going,” Kropf said. “As long as I had him (Roy) in my sight I could keep going, and all the JV members of the team were cheering and it was very helpful.”
Kropf is projected to be a top runner for the Quakers next year if he can stay healthy.
“I think Luke has a tremendous amount of natural ability,” Noyes said. “Not only a good leader, I think he could finish very high at the state level. He can compete with those top guys. In my mind there's no doubt about it. That has to be something he really wants.”
The girls are also hoping to improve next year after placing 14th with 340 points Saturday in Hershey. Palmyra grabbed first with 90.
“We accomplished our goal of winning WPIALs, and running at states was kind of the icing on the cake,” senior Rachel Skolnekovich said. “We all tried our best, and we didn't leave anything out there. We just did our best and enjoyed ourselves.”
Skolnekovich placed 33rd in 20:34 for one of her best times on the course.
“Even though she ran fairly well, I know maybe under different circumstances she could have done a little bit better,” Noyes said. “She was definitely happy with her time, as I was, that she gave it her best effort. She certainly didn't give in.”
Next year the Quakers just hope to stay healthy and return to states.
“Look back to where we were four or five weeks ago, and it was a question of whether we were even going to make it to states this year,” Noyes said. “Winning WPIALs like we did, that made for a really good season and they are proud of that effort so no one was really disappointed after Saturday's race. And the ones coming back are all looking forward to next year and making an improvement.”
Brittany Goncar is a freelance writer.