Hayley's comet changes orbit this fall

September 15, 2005|by ANDREW MASON

With the same speed she's used to win state gold on the track, Boonsboro junior Hayley Harnett drove to the finish line at the 28th annual Frank Keyser Invitational last Saturday at Boonsboro.

Harnett had fifth place locked up in the 98-runner field - until she surprisingly stopped just meters shy of the finish line and got passed by Jefferson's Alyssa Thurston.

"I saw a cone and I just figured, 'Oh, stop,' and that girl passed me," said Harnett, who, after realizing her mistake, strided across the line in sixth place in 20:31 for Washington County's top finish. "Oh well, sixth is still OK. I was just happy that my time was lower."


She deserves some slack. It was just her second-ever cross country race. In Harnett's first race - a dual meet with Brunswick four days earlier - she won in 21:08 on the same course.

"It's going to be a learning year for her," Boonsboro coach Jason Orendi said. "She'll get better all season."

Last cross country season, Harnett was on the soccer field, recording 10 goals and three assists for the Warriors.

But after all the success she's had in track, she decided to switch to cross country this fall.

"I just thought it would help for track," said Harnett, who won her second straight state title in the 800-meter run last spring to help lead Boonsboro to the Maryland Class 1A team championship. "And it has so far, with the mindset at least. You hurt a lot more out here, and you have to keep going."

'Rich get richer'

In Chris Monheim's first year coaching the Chambersburg girls team in 2003, he guided the Trojans to PIAA District 3 Class AAA and Mid-Penn Commonwealth titles and a second-place finish at states.

He said this year's team might be even better.

Saturday at the Gettysburg Invitational, one of the most competitive meets in the region, Chambersburg finished a close second to Allentown Central Catholic, led by junior Sarah Morrison's fourth-place finish in a blazing 18:41 on the 3.1-mile course.

The next four Trojans all cracked the 20-minute barrier. Cecelia Forshee was 19th (19:25), Brooke Jacobs 23rd (19:40), Ali Lambert 27th (19:51) and Haley Thomas 31st (19:56), while Elizabeth Strickler, the Trojans' sixth runner, was 41st (20:13).

"If we stay healthy, we have as good of a shot as anyone in the state," Monheim said. "We only lost to Allentown Central Catholic by six points, and they were the preseason No. 1 team in the state."

Chambersburg's future certainly looks bright. Not one of its top six runners is a senior, and Forshee, Thomas and Strickler are freshmen.

"From what I understand, we might even have an eighth-grade class better than this freshman class," Monheim said. "Hopefully we can keep it going for a few more years."

"I'll tell you what," Bill Bixler, coach of rival Cumberland Valley, said during the Trojans' 23-33 victory Tuesday over CV in what likely decided the Commonwealth championship, "the rich get richer."

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