Sharing is caring.
And spreading the athletic wealth around was huge Saturday for Mark Haywood's Camp Hill Lions.
With another helpful assist from two members of the boys' soccer team, Camp Hill stormed to the Class A team title with 113 points, moving from fourth to the gold-medal spot in the final 1,800 meters. And winning a PIAA title was just the tip of the iceberg for the multisport standouts as they quickly changed uniforms and headed a short cooldown away to Hersheypark Stadium for a District 3 title match a few hours later.
"It's something we have done the last three seasons," Haywood said of having athletes run and boot sometimes in the same day. "Cooper Leslie was the trailblazer, he played soccer and ran cross country in 2013.
"He really committed himself this year to doing more of the training during cross country season as well as over the summer. And a couple of his teammates came out this year in Matt Little and Myles Klapkowski."
Haywood said that the relationship with soccer coach Justin Sheaffer has worked very well, with the soccer players getting workouts to do on their own during the season.
"They are full-time soccer players," Haywood said. "The soccer coach keeps them in excellent shape, but there are some things they need to do if they want to be able to compete at 5K that are different than what they need for soccer.
"Managing it, I haven't found to be too difficult. I think what's difficult is what they're doing. Doing two sports and doing them both really well, and they're great kids. They had to immediately shift gears after the race was over here and start thinking about their district soccer game. I can't say enough about them. We couldn't have done it today without them obviously."
As he did two years ago in Hershey and in winning last week's District 3 championship, Leslie led the Lions. The senior was fourth in the team standings and sixth overall in 16:36, employing the victor's conservative approach to the fast opening segment of the state championship course.
Also finishing as a state medalist was senior Blake Behney, who was 10th in the team race and 22nd overall in 17:06. Juniors Ian Gabig, Dan Shank and Patrick Dorsey closed out the scoring for the champions.
"We ran our kind of race today, we didn't go out overly fast," Haywood said. "That's our kind of race … going out and then passing people the whole race, and that's what they did and I couldn't have been prouder of them."
After the opening metric mile, Camp Hill was sixth with 195 points and more than 100 behind Sewickley Academy. At the 3,200 mark, the Lions clawed their way up to fourth with only 133.
The champions needed every ounce of effort from their top seven. The Class A final standings were the closest of any of the day's races, with the top four teams separated by only 17 points.
Early front-runner Sewickley Academy and individual champ Griffin Mackey finished second with 121 points, having its title hopes dashed by a late-race injury to No. 2 runner Ben Clouse. Northeast Bradford claimed third over 2014 champion Winchester Thurston as both squads were credited with 130 points.
"We knew after districts that we had a solid team, and if we ran well today we would be in the mix but we also knew there were at least 3 or 4 other teams that were really solid as well," Haywood said. "And nothing is certain until they run the race, tally the score and see where you finished. We thought we would be in the mix, and we hoped we would be there."