Two newcomers helped pace the Dock cross country teams to faster finishes than a year ago as the Pioneers opened the season at the PTXC meet at Kutztown University on Saturday.
Celeste Derstine, a full-time field hockey player, asked if she could help the girls team and did so by finishing first for Dock in 47th place in the Varsity Blue race. The freshman ran 22 minutes, 28 seconds in her high school debut after bolting through the first mile in 6:20. She helped Dock place 15th, eight spots better than last year, with 413 points, ahead of the only two other Bicentennial Athletic League teams in the race, Calvary Christian Academy and Lower Moreland. The Pioneers averaged 1:30 per runner faster than a year ago.
Ben German, a full-time soccer player, came off a promising track and field season looking to compete in boys cross country as well. The sophomore ran with a determined effort from start to finish to make his cross country debut in 19:13 for 110th place in the Varsity Blue race. German helped the boys improve 10 seconds per runner over last year despite missing one of their expected contributors Saturday. The Pioneer boys placed 30th with an average of 20:20 per runner.
Sara Kennel made a significant move up in the girls race over the second half of the course just by sustaining her early pace. The junior ran exactly even splits in the first and second half of the race to finish 68th in 22:56.
Sydney Putera showed dramatic improvement in her first official race of the year capped by an impressively strong finish. After running 25:25 at PTXC last year in her first ever race, Putera opened this season in 23:19 for 78th place, 90 places better than a year ago.
Fully healthy now, Isa Rodriguez also made an enormous jump from a year ago, improving 140 spots to 87th in 23:27, only 31 seconds off her personal best. The junior is adjusting to an increase in mileage that will benefit her down the stretch.
Rachel Jin rounded out the Pioneers’ five scoring runners in 163rd place in 25:53. The senior was running the PTXC course for the first time, and came out 1:26 faster than she started last season.
Another runner making her debut was Mirabel Fizzano. The junior competed well in her first official varsity race and clocked 28:10 for 195th place.
Josh Bauman started his junior year well. He narrowly missed his personal record as he kept pace with German and finished 119th in 19:22.
Jesse Mong used a strong second half of the race to finish 186th in 20:42. The senior ran the second half of the race faster than the first half to culminate a great week of training.
Fellow senior Jonathan Anderson was just behind in 189th in 20:47. The team captain bounced back well from illness a week ago to get back on track.
Aaron Lee was Dock’s fifth finisher. The junior nearly snapped his personal record, missing it by only 12 seconds as he ran 21:35 for 211th place.
Nick Halstead ran his first cross country race for Dock. The senior debuted in 23:52 for 236th place.
Fellow senior Ming Xue has returned to cross country after a year away from it. He ran 25:07 for 238th place, more than 3:00 ahead of his first cross country race two years ago.
Jacob Sprague also got his first taste of cross country. The junior transfer was 241st in 31:36.
Dock had enough depth to run a pair of freshmen in the JV race. Daniel Ringenberg covered the second half of the race impressively quicker than the first half to finish 269th in 22:16. Drew Bauman was also strong in his debut in 22:26 for 282nd place.
The boys and girls will open the BAL season Tuesday at Tyler State Park. The girls run at 3:50 and the boys run at 4:30 p.m.