Upper Perk's Lydia Keiper ran to a third-place finish in the PAC-10 cross country championships held last Thursday at Daniel Boone High School.
Upper Perk’s boys and girls cross-country teams turned in outstanding performances at last week’s Pioneer Athletic Conference cross country championships. Avery Scripture and Lydia Keiper led the way with third-place finishes for their respective teams on the Daniel Boone Homestead course.
Scripture recorded the fastest time ever for an Upper Perk runner on the Daniel Boone course despite less-than-ideal conditions due to recent rains. Keiper ran a stunning 45 seconds faster than she had ever run before.
Scripture stayed with a core group of five runners who broke away from the pack early. The winner of the race, Boyertown’s Brett Kelly, the defending champ, pulled away during the second mile.
“Then me and the Pottsgrove kid (Ian Yanusko) pulled away from the two Spring-Ford kids. And it was us until about the last half mile where he started to pull away a little bit,” Scripture said.
Yanusko nipped Scripture, who finished in 16:28, by two seconds. Kelly’s time was 16:06.
Overall, Scripture’s performance helped the boys team place fifth. Mike Sames (17:29) missed a medal by one second in 21st place.
Even the JV team was impressive. Jordan Williams (18:13) knocked 45 seconds off his best time.
“As a whole we did great. There were several kids who ran their best races ever. We were very competitive and hung in there with the elite teams in the league. Including the personal achievements, this is the best showing for an Upper Perk boys team since 1995,” related coach Todd Niemann.
Keiper surprised even herself by running so well.
“I wasn’t really expecting to place third or anything. I went out with some of the leaders and maintained my pace in the pack. As the race was going on, I kind of moved up in the pack a little bit and then Niemann just told me to go for it.”
The race put Keiper among Upper Perk elites. “Lydia ran an incredible race,” Niemann said. “She just kept passing people and ran an unbelievable time. Only three girls from Upper Perk have ever run faster, and those three were state runners.”
Keiper prepped for the race in Washington D.C. two days before the championship. On the junior class trip, Keiper brought along her running clothes and did a couple of miles along the mall before rejoining her classmates.
“I just did a maintenance run. I missed practice so I might as well run while I was there,” she said.
Senior Amanda Long (7th) and freshman Rachel Landis (17th) joined Keiper as medal winners.
“Amanda had a great race with a tremendous finish, passing three girls right before the finish line,” said Niemann. “(Rachel) was one of only four freshmen to (medal) and the first freshman to do so for me.”
The girls team placed fourth, missing out on third by three points.
Now it is on to districts. The goal there will be for each individual to run his or her fastest time.
Niemann said, “The course is fast so most times kids do run their best there. There are three kids who have a legitimate shot at moving on to states, but they will have to run the best race they have ever run to make it. Our district is the best in the state so it’s an incredible challenge.”