REEDSVILLE - Earlier this season, when the Altoona boys cross country team lost its own invitational to Mifflin County, things looked bleak in regards to winning a fifth consecutive District 6 Class AAA title.
Monday afternoon, with district champion Korey Replogle and runner-up Dylan Mountain leading the cheers along with leaping Altoona coach Lee Baranik, it was a reality.
The Mountain Lions (42) knocked off State College (47), which had topped Altoona several times during the regular season, and Mifflin County (51) to win the championship at the Indian Valley Elementary School.
Photo for the Mirror by Matt Stricker
Altoona’s Korey Replogle (right) and Dylan?Mountain helped lead the Mountain Lions to a District 6 championship on Monday afternoon.
"Korey and Dylan carried this team all season," Baranik said. "They were our one-two punch. You never knew who was going to win or who was going to be second, but they carried the team.
"I have to give a lot of credit here today to our middle guys like Cody [Nail], Patrick [Reade] and Khristian Delozier who were outstanding today."
The performances of seniors Replogle and Mountain were expected, but Altoona's title came to be thanks to improved performances from its underclassmen.
"I'm really excited about the team title," Mountain said. "There was a time this year that we were thinking we were going to be in third, but we made a big turnaround and never looked back.
"We had a lot of newcomers onto our varsity squad, and I think there was a lot of pressure on them at first, but then they got used to it."
Replogle's individual title came a year after he finished second to Altoona's Wade Endress, who is now competing for Penn State's cross country team.
The Mountain Lion senior finished in 16:05, a second better than last year.
"I was hoping to win, but I knew it would be either me or Dylan," Replogle said. "It feels amazing, and we had high expectations. We always wanted to be one-two, so to actually do it feels really good."
While Replogle, Mountain, Reade and Dalen Stroh are seniors, Nail (junior), Delozier (sophomore) and Todd Taylor (freshman) all helped Altoona clinch the title.
"People were starting to count us out," Baranik said. "But we were still optimistic. We knew that if we gave it a little bit of time, we'd be coming back and we'd be okay. Thank God these guys were patient, they listened and it all worked out in the end."
In the girls Class AAA competition, State College dominated on its way to another title, 17-71, over Somerset. Altoona took fourth, and Hollidaysburg was fifth. State College's Tatum Delbosco won the district title with a time of 19:58.
The Lady Tigers, though, had two girls qualify for state competition while Altoona was shut out.
Junior Lauren Pheasant (20:55) and Emily Ansley (21:06) both greatly improved on their times from last season and finished 10th and 12th respectively.
"I'm really excited, because Emily and I run together every day at practice," Pheasant said. "It's really exciting that we're both going to states. We knew right where we had to be, and we got it done."
TEAMS: 1, Altoona (A) 42; 2, State College (SC) 47; 3, Mifflin County (MC) 51; 4, Bellefonte (B) 108; 5, Central Mountain (CM) 144; 6, Hollidaysburg (H) 147.
INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIERS: 1, Korey Replogle, A, 16:05; 2, Dylan Mountain, A, 16:13; 3, Zach Moon, MC, 16:35; 4, Addison Monroe, MC, 16:36; 5, Jon Colwell, MC, 16:50; 6, Mitchell Smith, B, 16:58; 7, Andrew Lanagan, SC, 16:59.
OTHER AREA FINISHERS: 11, Patrick Reade, A, 17:09; 12, Cody Nail, A, 17:20; 16, Khristian Delozier, A, 17:33; 17, Cody Lewis, H, 17:39; 19, Todd Taylor, A, 18:09; 20, Dalen Stroh, A, 18:14; 28, Andrew Hess, H, 18:39; 32, Daniel Monts, H, 19:00; 34, Eric Jennings, H, 19:17; 36, Samuel Hess, H, 19:44; 39, Mace Long, H, 20:31; 40, Nate McClain, H, 20:39.
TEAMS: 1, State College (SC) 17; 2, Somerset (S) 71; 3, Mifflin County (MC) 89; 4, Altoona (A) 93; 5, Hollidaysburg (H) 97.
INDIVIDUAL QUALIFERS: 1, Tatum Delbosco, SC, 19:58; 2, Emma Cousins, SC, 20:08; 3, Kathryn McNaughton, SC, 20:11; 4, Brooke King, MC, 20:11; 5, Madison Krieger, SC, 20:12; 6, Hannah Grubb, SC, 20:13; 7, Nora Adams, SC, 20:19; 8, Anne Balogh, SC, 20:19; 9, Liz Snyder, S, 20:37; 10, Lauren Pheasant, H, 20:55; 11, Caroline Heckman, S, 21:02; 12, Emily Ansley, H, 21:06.
OTHER AREA FINISHERS: 14, Morgan Pensyl, A, 21:42; 17, Carly Port, A, 22:06; 20, Brianne Geist, A, 22:22; 21, Alexis Preston, H, 22:36; 24, Kirsten Stoltenberg, A, 22:55; 27, Hannah Jacobs, A, 23:08; 28, Colter Long, H, 23:14; 31, Ellie Sohmer, A, 23:38; 35, Claire Rosenberger, H, 25:36; 38, Courtney Schobel, A, 26:17; 39, Marie Gorman, H, 26:47.