Dock XC Boys finish 2nd, Girls 4th at District Championships - 10/27/17

Dock Mennonite Academy Girls Varsity Cross Country finishes 4th place at District Championships

Sara Kennel almost waited too long, but over the final 100 meters the freshman gave the Dock girls cross country team something it didn’t have last year.

Kennel gave the Pioneers a state championships qualifier.

The top team plus the next five individual finishers outside the winning team at the District 1A Championship advance to the state championships that will be held Nov. 4 in Hershey. Sacred Heart won the district team title with Calvary Christian second and Jenkintown third before Dock in fourth, but the most exciting race within the race was to determine the final individual qualifier.

Kennel was sitting 10th overall and one spot out of the final qualifying spot for most of the race. It wasn’t until the final 300 meters that she found another gear and pushed by a pair of Jenkintown runners in the last 100 meters. One passed her back, but the strong kick gave Kennel the ninth overall spot and fifth individual state qualifier in a personal-best time of 21:00.

While Kennel is just beginning her Dock career, Erica Gunden was finishing hers at districts. The senior captain remained a reliable No. 2 runner for the Pioneers in 17th overall in 22:49. She was fourth out of all seniors in the race. She showed steady improvement through the season as has been her penchant through the years. She lowered her time more than three minutes since the start of the season.

Lindsey Bernd stayed strong and put on an intimidating kick for 20th place overall in 23:32, a significant improvement over her Bicentennial Athletic League Championship time and her fastest cross country race of the season. A two-sport athlete in the fall with volleyball and cross country, Bernd hasn’t had much training this year but gutted out her final cross country finish.

Dock’s fourth runner was another freshman, Isa Rodriguez. She gritted her way to a 25:20 in her first trip to the district meet. Rodriguez looks to be a fixture for years to come in cross country and track and field.

Like Bernd, Dock’s fifth finisher has been focused on volleyball this fall. Laura Bergey cut 40 seconds off her previous best to finish 34th in 26:51. The junior was a welcome addition and helped the Pioneers place as a team for the second time this season.

The Dock girls won’t be able to score as a team at the state championships, but they do have an individual representative this year thanks to a determined finish from Sara Kennel.

 

Dock Mennonite Academy Boys Varsity Cross Country finishes 2nd place at District Championships

Hershey will look a little greener next weekend.

The Dock boys will send their largest contingent to the state championships since at least 2001 after placing three runners in the top nine overall at the District 1A Championship at Lehigh University on Friday. Dock has never had more than two boys finish at the state championships over the last 16 years.

The top team plus the next five individual finishers outside the winning team advance to the state championship that will be held Nov. 4 in Hershey. Jenkintown won the team title with 15 points while Dock placed second with 61 points, more than 50 points and nearly a minute per runner ahead of third-place Collegium Charter School.

Isaiah Denlinger placed seventh overall in 17:51, a new personal best for the senior co-captain. Denlinger never left a doubt about qualifying for states by running in the top seven the entire race. Early on, he was pacing with the middle of the Jenkintown team, and he finished battling Delaware County Christian School’s Charlie Schaefer to the finish for the first state individual spot. Denlinger will be making his second straight trip to the state championships.

Denlinger will be joined by a pair of first-time qualifiers. Chris Keach capped his four-year career with his finest race yet. The senior powered his way to eighth place overall, comfortably in for a state spot only year after coming up one spot short at districts. Keach dropped his personal record to 18:19 with his efforts.

Steve Seachrist has been markedly improved all season over a year ago when he first joined the cross country team. His experience and hard work benefitted him in a harrowing final 400 meters in which three other runners were battling for the final two individual spots. The Dock junior edged ahead of all of them in a personal record 18:29, a full 1:24 better than his best of a year ago.

Ian Anderson had hopes of giving Dock a fourth state qualifier, and the senior co-captain positioned himself through the first two miles to give himself that chance. He did not get the final state spot with his 18th place finish, but his 19:02 time was a season-best and only four seconds off his all-time best. It represented a drop of nearly 2:00 from the start of the season and sets the 400- and 800-meter standout up with a terrific base for his final year of track and field with the Pioneers.

Jonathan Anderson posted his most impressive race of the season at the perfect time for 21st place. The sophomore in his first year of cross country lowered his personal record to 19:15 thanks to his improved strength over the final two miles. Anderson was only a second faster than his first-mile split from the Paul Short Invitational at Lehigh four weeks earlier, but he was 22 seconds better at the two-mile mark and another 35 seconds better in the final 1.1 miles.

Sean Robinson was the top freshman finisher for Dock in 19:53. It was the third straight race in which his time has dropped, and the first time in four weeks that his time dipped under 20:00. Robinson’s consistency kept him in Dock’s top seven all season.

Bobby Hadden closed out the Pioneers varsity team in 57th place. The junior came off a breakout race at the Bicentennial Athletic League Championship to run 21:44, his second fastest cross country time of the season.

An hour later, a trio of new Dock runners came up with blistering finishes to their seasons in the junior varsity race. Faced with crowding from 1,000 runners in the race, freshman Sam Godshall lowered his personal best to 20:13 for 521st place. Dock’s second finisher, another freshman Josh Bauman, took more than a half-minute off his best time to run 22:46 for 867th place. Lowering his 5k finish time for the fifth consecutive race was Ming Xue. The sophomore took nearly 2 minutes off his best time when he finished 23:14 for 909th for a promising end to his first year with the Dock team.