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Warrior Run’s Trapani wins her 4th consecutive District 4 title

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Warrior Run's Lauren Trapani holds a comfortable lead at the finish of the District 4 Class AA girls cross country championship race at Warrior Run on Thursday.

TURBOTVILLE — Lauren Trapani never expected her running career to have the trajectory it has. She was one of a handful of talented freshman on Warrior Run’s cross country team in 2017 who were expected to take the Defenders to new heights.

Trapani has been the main reason why they’ve achieved nearly all of their goals. The senior added another highlight Thursday afternoon when she won her fourth consecutive District 4 cross country championship. And just for good measure, she did it in the shadows of her own school after the district meet was moved from Bloomsburg University to Warrior Run this year.

In rainy conditions which could have moved Gene Kelly to sing and dance gleefully around campus, Trapani bested the Class AA field by 49 seconds. She was joined by teammate Alyssa Hoffman’s second-place finish after a thrilling spring to the line with Danville’s Coyla Bartholomew, and the Defenders had its first five runners finish in the Top 10 to earn its third team title in the last four seasons.

Warrior Run earned its fourth consecutive trip to the PIAA Cross Country Championships next weekend where it looks to improve on last year’s third-place finish after back-to-back fifth-place finishes in 2017 and 2018.

“It was definitely different running here,” said Trapani, who clocked a time of 18 minutes, 38 seconds running through a course better fit for swimming than running. “It’s really cool that my whole school is right up there. And I’m really happy with what I”ve done in four years, but you never expect it.”

Warrior Run is going to be joined at the state meet by Montgomery’s Kennedy Marsh who surprised the Class A field by taking control from the start and never relinquishing the lead. The senior is the Red Raiders’ lone runner and has never competed at the district meet because of injuries. But her winning time of 21:17 was 14 seconds better than Southern Columbia’s Kate Moncavage, who took second.

“I wasn’t looking at my watch (Thursday) because of the conditions,” Marsh said. “I was just going off feel and it ended up going pretty well.”

For Trapani and her teammates this season has been about making the most of their final season as high school teammates. Only Trapani and Hoffman have been scoring runners in each of the last four district meets for the Defenders. But Alanna Ranck (eighth place, 20:24) scored in her third district meet yesterday, and sophomore Sage Dunkleberger (fifth place, 20:09) scored in her second consecutive meet.

Trapani, Hoffman, Ranck, Dunkleberger and Mikaela Majcher will all be in Hershey next weekend to make a run at a team state title. Thursday’s performance in unfavorable conditions was a pretty good springboard into states.

“I think a lot of things have worked out for us this year,” Hoffman said. “We all seem to be in shape and our team has a really nice bond. It’s been a really good year.”

“I’m so excited, but even more so for the team,” Trapani said. “We’ve been pretty high in the rankings the last few years, so maybe this is our year.”

This Warrior Run group is largely the same group which ended Danville’s decade-long run as Class AA District 4 champions a year ago. Trapani set a tone Thursday by breaking 20 yards in front of the field in the first quarter mile and never easing up on a pace which was too much for the rest of the field.

Oddly enough, Thursday’s win came with the best time Trapani has ever run at the district meet even as winning times in the other three races were far slower than each winner’s best times this year. Trapani was comfortable on her home course, which was different than the regular-season course on which the Defenders run.

This is a team driven to take advantage of their final season together.

“Even from the beginning of the season we were like this is our senior season, we have to do well,” Trapani said. “We have high expectations and other people have high expectations for us, so I think this year we really want to do well.”

Marsh won her first district title despite competing as an independent runner in just three races this season, showing up where she could get a spot on the starting line. She ran Thursday like a seasoned veteran and took control of the race from the start.

With injuries keeping her from performing at districts each of the last two seasons, Marsh took advantage of her final chance. She was worried midway through the race that nobody was coming up behind her to challenge for the lead. But as the race went on, that same thing made her more confident and she turned the confidence into a win.

“I didn’t even know if I’d have a season,” Marsh said. “So being able to run, and not only run but do well, I’m so happy. I didn’t even expect to win it. I just wanted to run my heart out and see where it took me.”

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