Wheeler sisters finish 1-2 to lead Tigers to XC crown
Perryville edges Elkton on tiebreaker in boys’ race
— The Wheeler sisters distanced themselves from the pack early.
The race for first place in Tuesday’s Susquehanna Division Cross Country meet at Perryville Community Park quickly became a contest between the twins from Rising Sun.
Emma Wheeler captured first with a time of 20:44.27. Arianna, the younger by 12 minutes, came in just over a second later at 20:45.52.
“Arianna was there to really help push the pace,” Emma said. “It definitely motivated me to go faster.”
The times were personal records for both girls, they said.
“My goal was to stick with her, because she always comes in front of me. I wanted to stay right with her and I just pushed myself to do that. It really paid off because I was able to stay with her the whole way,” Arianna said. “I just about had her at the end. I mean, I was ahead of her a couple times during the race.”
Tigers coach James Burkhardt said the Wheelers, now seniors, have gradually gotten better all four years.
“When they first came out their freshmen year, they were talented. I’ve only seen them improve, improve and improve over the years,” he said. “They’ve gotten to the point that they really like it because they’re seeing the successes at-
tached to it.”
Rising Sun claimed each of the top four spots with senior Danielle Lee (22:14.43) placing third and sophomore Emma Cease (22:16.09) capturing fourth.
“I don’t know if our team has ever been this good,” Emma Wheeler said. “The past years, we’ve been good as a team, but we’ve never been this close as a group. Last year, one girl was way out in front and the next best girl was like two minutes behind her.”
A pair of North East runners were the next two in with freshman Yailynn Ramirez (22:38.78) and sophomore Sarah Beitler (22:44.65) placing fifth and sixth, respectively.
Perryville junior Skylar Vanderweile (22:57.28) also earned a Top 10 finish at ninth place.
The Tigers easily won the girls’ team competition with 18 points. Perryville placed second with 56 points, just ahead of Harford Tech with 57.
“Coming into this, we expected to win,” Burkhardt said. “There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to do it. The girls ran excellent.”
Perryville and Elkton each finished with a team score of 46 on the boys’ side, but Perryville won the event through a tie breaker deter- mined by the sixth runner to finish from each team.
The Golden Elks had three runners finish in the Top 6, but the Panthers had four Top 10 finishers.
Elkton junior Evan Shrewsbury captured first place by overcoming Aberdeen’s Daniel Foster, who led most of the race, in a heated sprint to the finish line.
“I didn’t think I had it in me,” Shrewsbury said. “Honestly, I don’t know how I did it. I was running with my teammate and him, he started booking it and I felt like I had to go with him. I gave 110 percent, but I got it done.”
Shrewsbury (17:34.15) edged Foster (17:34.49) by less than half a second. He remembered losing to Foster earlier in the year and was determined not to let it happen again.
“I just remember the first race of the season, we were running together,” Shrewsbury said. “He beat me in the first race. I said today was the day to get him back.”
Behind Foster, Elkton sophomore Zach Nerlinger (17:44.77) finished third. Perryville sophomore Brian Keenan (18:04.44) placed fifth, Elkton sophomore Cameron Spaeth (18:13.14) took sixth and Perryville’s Craig Seibert (18:13.81), Eric Phillips (18:20.58) and Jacob Negron (18:31.70) captured seventh, eighth and 10th, respectively.
Harford Tech finished third in team points with 82, Aberdeen took fourth with 83, Rising Sun placed fifth on the boys’ side with 115 points and Havre de Grace finished sixth with 132.
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig
Rising Sun senior Emma Wheeler, right, finishes first in the Susquehanna Division Cross Country meet Tuesday at Perryville Community Park. Her sister, Arianna, left, placed second.