The Dock cross country took to the PIAA state championship course with an eye to the future.
None of the four runners to compete was older than a sophomore, and they gained valuable experience in the most competitive race in the state Saturday in Hershey.
Lauren Birch had never raced on the course, yet the sophomore capped her season in 34th overall in the girls A race in 21 minutes, 20 seconds. She finished only nine spots and 11 seconds away from the earning a medal in her Hershey debut. Birch placed eighth among all sophomores.
Sara Kennel was the lone Pioneer runner with state experience to compete Saturday. The sophomore, who also qualified last year, ran 23:49 for 154th place just two days after helping the Dock girls soccer team win the District 1 championship.
Matthew Birch was the top boys finisher in 96th place in the boys A race in 18:50. He was 11th out of all freshmen in the race.
Sean Robinson placed 173rd in 19:55 in his first chance to run states. The sophomore came off a huge personal best at districts to qualify.
It’s the second year in a row that Dock had four individual qualifiers compete at states. The Pioneers hope that their experience will push them higher next year when they hope to return with more qualifiers.