HERSHEY - Eisenhower returning state qualifiers Devin VanGuilder and Anthony Amroski were looking for better performances at the 2012 PIAA Class A Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Hershey Park.
Coming off a 65th-place finish a year ago, the senior Amroski was gunning for a top-30 finish this weekend, he said earlier in the week. Lofty expectations, especially coming off an injury less than two weeks prior, but he did finish 59th overall out of 227 in 17:44 over the 3.1-mile course.
"I've been better - I need to recover and rehab," said Amroski. "I wouldn't say I'm satisfied with my race; I ran the same time as last year, (but) I think it's been a great six years. I've had a great time with my teammates."
Making a push
Eisenhower’s Devin VanGuilder (913) and Anthony Amroski (914) head toward “Poop Out Hill” near the end of the PIAA Class A Cross Country Meet on Saturday at Hershey Park. Hershey, Pa.
"It's hard to see the kids go, especially the ones who have been in it for six years," said Eisenhower coach Darlene Beach. "He certainly has had a strong career. He was a great captain for the boys."
VanGuilder, a junior, was 177th out of over 280 a season ago. He was the only other county qualifier and put up a 51st-place finish this time in 17:37.
"He'll keep working hard and aim a little bit higher (next year)," said Beach, "and certainly he'll work with his teammates to do well with his team."
With the goal of training together and pushing each other -and their team - all season, the duo finished just seven seconds apart on Saturday.
"I think the conditions were a little better than last year, a little dryer than before," said Beach. "It is exciting to run against that caliber - the best runners in the state... I always tell them to aim high. They had a decent start, and they didn't have enough else left (at the finish). I've never known them to come in and not have given it their all."
"I pushed myself (all I could)," said VanGuilder. "I'm going to train (next year) just as hard as I did this year, to try to get other teammates to go with me."
VanGuilder's goal - and he bases it on the upperclassmen ahead of him at this year's race - is to earn a medal among the top 25 in the state next year.
"I'm definitely going to miss (Anthony)," said VanGuilder. "We pushed each other and I'll definitely miss him next year."
Holy Cross senior Rico Galassi won the race in a blazing 15:59, by one second over Elk Lake's Luke Jones. Maplewood's Jeremy Parsons was fifth in 16:28.
This is the first season that the races are by classification - separate Class A, AA and AAA races. Merged, VanGuilder's time was good for 258th out of 674 boys; Amroski 289th. Corry senior Austin Pondel was third out of 674 in 15:56, only 11 seconds from a state title in Class AAA.