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Kimberly chases down Mid-Penn XC title

October 16, 2003|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - At home, Jeremiah Kimberly chases goats. Wednesday, the herd was chasing him.

Growing up on a 247-acre farm on the Conococheague Creek in Mercersburg, Pa., Kimberly had, it seems, been preparing for the Mid-Penn Conference Cross Country Championships all his life.

The James Buchanan junior overcame the ankle-deep mud puddles, rolling hills, massive winds and field of 66 runners on Gettysburg High School's 3.1-mile course to capture the Class AA (small-school) boys title in 17 minutes, 31 seconds.

"I loved the course. It was great," Kimberly said. "At my house, I always run through water. I do 100-yard sprints in water that's knee high." That, and "chasing goats all over tarnation," he said had him well-prepared for whatever Wednesday's race might offer.

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Kimberly took over the lead shortly before the 1-mile mark and never relinquished it, topping runner-up Brendan Kearney of Trinity by 5 seconds.

"I knew once I got in first I could hold it the whole way," he said. "At 1 1/2 miles, I said, 'I'm not going to lose this.'

"I was planning to break 17 minutes, but I couldn't hold on. It was like a wind tunnel at the end. But I kept driving. I just didn't want to quit."

The Rockets packed four more runners into the top 20 - Dillon Gracey (sixth, 18:04), Jed Yeattes (ninth, 18:43), Andy Jacobs (10th, 18:44) and Spencer Zimmerman (18th, 19:13) - to capture the unofficial team title with 44 points - 13 fewer than second-place East Pennsboro.

While, oddly, the Mid-Penn never acknowledges team champions or hands out team awards at its championships, team scores are tallied.

That's all that mattered to the Chambersburg girls, who claimed five of the top 13 spots in the 129-runner Class AAA (big-school) race to easily win with 37 points. Cumberland Valley was second with 101, while Cedar Cliff took third with 119.

"The goal was to win today, regardless of what they give us or don't give us. It was big," said Chambersburg coach Chris Monheim, whose team won titles at the Gettysburg, Steel City and State College invitationals earlier this season to go along with an unbeaten mark in dual meets.

"We expected to win. Every race we show up at, we accomplish what we want to do, and I don't see that trend changing. I think we can even step it up a notch from today's race. I'm really, really excited about the next two weeks (districts and states)."

Chambersburg's Kylee Schuler placed second in 19:11 - 9 seconds behind Cedar Cliff's Janelle Young - to lead the Trojans, who also got medal-winning (top-25) finishes from Brooke Jacobs (fifth, 20:20), Sarah Morrison (seventh, 20:43), Sarah Osterman (12th, 20:56), Regina Heiser (13th, 21:03) and Samantha Jones (16th, 21:16).

In the Class AA girls race, JB, which finished third, got a third-place finish from Shayna Weir (20:41) and a 13th-place effort from Lindsey Hollenstead (22:00).

Waynesboro's Ben Holmes was the area's top runner in the Class AAA boys race, placing 14th (17:39), while Chambersburg was the top team, placing fourth. Jeremy Eshleman (21st, 17:51) and Jamie Jablin (22nd, 17:51) won medals for the Trojans.

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