Track teams reaps long-awaited dreams

By Jackson Haines
Managing Editor

To qualify for the PIAA Cross Country State Championship meet out of District 1 takes talent, and a fast time. The top 25 individuals, other than those who are on the top five teams (which qualify as a team) will make it through the District Championship meet and onto the championships at Hershey.

For Eric Chapman, this standard has proved elusive; that is, until now. With a time of 16:25, the senior placed 29th overall, but several runners ahead of him qualified with their teams, and the harrier made it through. For Chapman, it’s a dream four years in the making.

“After four years, I finally did it. It’s nice that… all your hard work finally pays off,” Chapman said.

After a dissatisfactory race at the Suburban One League championships, Chapman knew he had to have a clutch performance to qualify. He did not fail to deliver: even though Chapman did not appear to be in qualifying position at the halfway mark, Chapman entered a long (and at times painful) drive to the finish, passing many runners to grab himself a spot in Hershey on Nov.1.

Behind Chapman were key runners Dustin Willing (sr, 16:53, 78th place) and Rusty Kujdych (fr, 16:55, 81st place). Coach Syd White was happy with the team’s 19th-place-performance, which is a better showing than the team has had in recent years. 54 teams in total competed in the AAA boys’ race with Neshaminy.

“We had a great day today; we had a bunch of PRs (personal records),” said White.

Coach Stacy Speece was happy with the performance of her young squad. Although frontrunner freshman Kabrina Weaver didn’t manage to qualify for states, Speece noted the improvement from last week: “She beat out all of the girls from Council Rock North, and 6 of the 7 girls from Council Rock South,” a few of which had defeated Weaver at the SOL championships. Weaver’s time of 20:03 was good for 73rd place.

The next Neshaminy runner was Becca Lehman, who stopped the watches in 21:40, and Natalia Bastida, who crossed the finish line in 21:46. These two runners were 223rd and 229th place, respectively.
Speece was satisfied with the season as a whole, as well. She noted that although no one made it to states, the team was young and bound to improve.

This was also the first year in about a decade that the girls’ team finished with a non-losing record.