So when Titusville’s young freshman runners Cash Lavery and Andrew Bryan broke into the clear without a red Franklin jersey in front of them they could taste their fourth and fifth place finishes.
But they and coach Joe Covell then witnessed something that would become an important coachable moment.
Franklin’s Kyle Phipps was on the tail of Lavery and Bryan and as they approached the flag lined finish line shoot he had a little something extra in his tank to overcome both Titusville runners finishing a full second in front of Lavery for fourth place.
This was huge in the team event ultimately giving the Knight’s the meet with a 26-29 win.
“We talked all week about finishing hard right through the finish line,” Covell said. “They are freshmen so they are learning things, it’s all good.”
Covell also pointed out his top three runners ran personal records in the meet and the next three were just seconds of their PR’s.
“I always tell them, when they PR that is the fastest they ever ran on the planet in their life. That’s a neat thing. You just can’t ask for much more if that's the fastest they can run at this point in the season.”
But they’ll still talk over strategy and finishing strong as they find themselves now 0-2 in the region.
On the girls side Anna Mehlenbacher kept Franklin’s Nadalie Latchaw in her sights the whole way, finishing only 25 seconds back from the perennial state qualifier.
The Rocket girls easily won the team event 20-41 with Mehlenbacher, Sophie Sampson, Emma Wright, Madeline Johnson, Bella Ongly and Mackenzie Covell coming in second through seventh-place. Carly Fry also ran very well coming in eighth.
The Lady Rocket's are now 2-0 in the region with a tough challenge ahead against Oil City for the title on October 10 in Oil City.
“Anna ran hard again today. She also had a great race over the weekend (in Hershey) She is really starting to lead our pack, Covell said of his junior. He also complimented Carly Fry’s run.
“She ran exceptionally well again today, she’s done well all season for us.”
He thinks the girls have a chance at the region title but acknowledges Oil City is a very good team.
“It should be a really good race, if Oil City runs what they can run, and we run what we can run - it's going to be a good race.”
Over the weekend the team ran on the state course in Hershey.
“We had a good trip to Foundation with a lot of good team bonding.”
Both the girls and boys will compete in the Cochranton Invitational today.
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