The 3Ks under the lights took centerstage on Friday at Henderson for the Polar Bear Champs and the final section of both the boys and girls races did not disappoint. Despite some chilly and windy conditions, some of PA's distance runners brought the juice to West Chester.
First came the girls race, where Claire Zubey from Owen J. Roberts claimed the victory in 10:19.86. Northeastern's Margaret Carroll took the race out and led for all but the final 100 meters. Zubey was gapped a few laps into the girls 3K, and Carroll had an advantage of about 30 meters at one point.
But Zubey never lost full contact and gradually started to reel in the senior. She finally caught Carroll with about 150 meters to go and then overtook her on the homestretch, to kick to the win. West Chester Rustin's Ellie Keefer also kicked well to pass Carroll and take second in 10:20.25. Carroll was third in 10:22.49 and Wilson's Caryn Rippey placed fourth in 10:39.06. Northeastern's Marissa Pritchett was fifth in 10:44.97 and Henderson's Liesl Scherrer was sixth in 10:47.95. For Keefer, it's a solid 3K PR -- 6 seconds faster than her time from the DVGTCA Meet of Champions indoors a little over a year ago.
Watch section 2 of the girls' 3K above.
The boys race featured some similar drama in the final and fastest section of the night. There was a good pack throughout much of the race, and in the end in was Weber Long of Greencastle-Antrim that held off one challenge after another to win in 8:37.74.
Downingtown West's Aiden Barnhill was the pacer for the first mile. When he stepped off the track, Jenkintown's Luke Miller seized control of the lead. He led until just before two to go, when Long took over the lead and picked up the pace a bit. At that point, it was a group of four with Long, Miller, D-West's Declan Rymer, and Hatboro-Horsham's Devon Comber.
The last lap was a thriller. Long continued to lead, but Comber made a move with 200 to go. Long responded and wouldn't allow him to pass. It was all out with 100 to go and Long ultimately held on for the win. Miller kicked well and passed Comber for second to finish in 8:37.90, just .16 off the win. Comber was a close third in 8:38.14. Rymer took fourth in 8:43.20 and LaSalle's Zachary Brill was fifth in 8:54.70. Downingtown East's Brendan Flynn also dipped under 9 minutes, taking 8:58.95.
Watch the fifth section of the boys' 3K above.