By Lisa Byers
GUYS MILLS —
Savannah Phillips turned the corner and made her way down the sideline of the football field, fans cheering and clapping as she made her final strides to the finish line.
It was another solid finish for Phillips, who crossed the line third with a time of 21:45, but far from the goal she had set for herself prior to the meet.
With just two region meets remaining heading into its tri-meet with Cambridge Springs and Cochranton on Tuesday, the Lady Tigers knew their window of opportunity to make an impact in the final Region 3 standings was closing quickly.
And Phillips knew it would take one of her best performances to make that happen, including beating either or both Olivia Mamula or Reilly Walsh, who finished 16th and 17th, respectively for Cambridge Springs at the 2012 PIAA Class A state championships. Walsh and Mamula proved to be too much.
Walsh crossed the line first in 20:13 followed by her teammate Mamula at 20:58 as Cambridge Springs took four of the top six spots on its way to a sweep at Maplewood High School.
Cambridge Springs beat Maplewood 22-35 and Cochranton, which did not field a complete team, 15-50 to move to a perfect 6-0 on the year. Maplewood fell to 4-2.
“I need to pick it up,” Phillips said, “And I haven’t been and I don’t know why. It’s like I’m losing my drive, I guess. I do want to win … I just wish I had stayed with Olivia at least.
“I thought I was with her when we reached the school and then she just started pulling away and my hopes were kind of shattered.”
Walsh’s time ranked 21st overall among the boys and girls. Walsh said her game plan all season has been to try to stick with the boys, but admitted she was keeping an eye on Phillips throughout.
“Savannah has been running pretty good,” Walsh said. “So I was kind of on the lookout for her. I just ran my race and it was good.”
The Blue Devils remain tied with Conneaut at 6-0. The Eagles swept their tri-meet with Titusville and Rocky Grove yesterday. Cambridge Springs plays host to Conneaut and Saegertown on Tuesday.
“We haven’t run against CASH yet,” Mamula said. “So I guess we’ll see how that goes.”
Maplewood still has a tri-meet with Oil City and Titusville remaining.
The Region 3 Invite is Oct. 19.
“I think Cambridge is a good team and our girls are coming along,” Maplewood coach Dave Washousky said. “But they aren’t quite there yet. So I give props to Cambridge Springs. I’m hoping by the end of the season we can bring our 4 and 5 (runners) along and we can give them a better run.”
That’s what Phillips is hoping as well.
“I really really want to beat them at regions,” she said. “I’m going to work my butt off.”
Parsons still untouchable
Yesterday’s Region 3 tri-meet at Maplewood was nearly as important on the boys side. Cambridge Springs, Cochranton and Maplewood all entered the meet tied with Oil City for second place in the region at 3-1.
The individual race was decided relatively easily with Maplewood’s Jeremy Parsons continuing his hot streak, finishing first with a course record time of 16:11. The team race, however, was a bit tighter.
In the end, Maplewood hung on for a sweep. The Tigers beat Cambridge Springs 21-37 and Cochranton 25-31. Cochranton topped Cambridge Springs 25-34.
Maplewood swept the top three spots. Jake Parsons finished second (16:40) followed by Hans Wentz (16:46). The next four spots alternated between Cochranton and Cambridge Springs with the Cardinals’ 3 and 4 runners, Nathan Lindeman and Kyle Mudger, ultimately making the difference.
“It’s always nice to get a win at home and to have Jeremy set the course record,” Washousky said. “It’s always nice going 1, 2, 3.”
And they did it in front of a good crowd.
“We even had the cheerleaders here (yesterday), which is really nice,” Washousky added. “Our boys, especially our top three, have been running well enough that they have been getting attention at big meets. I think it’s hard for people at a small school to realize how important and big of a deal that is. But I think people coming out to the race (yesterday) means something to our runners.”