BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Coach Will Squier conveyed a feeling of thankfulness during an assembly held at Elk Lake’s High School gymnasium on Friday to congratulate the Warrior boys’ and girls’ cross country teams on winning the Class AA championship.
The Warrior cross country teams took home the team titles from the PIAA championship held in Hershey last Saturday, and Squier said that the team’s success is a “shared victory.”
During his speech in front of Elk Lake’s student body on Friday, Squier cited an inspirational speech from actor Al Pacino he watched online.
“This speech moved me to tears,” Squier said. “It was all about missed opportunities, and fighting for the ‘inches’ in life.”
He urged students of Elk Lake to seize the moment and fight for the inches in life.
“All of you have talents and special gifts,” Squier said. “Don’t let them slip away. Grab the inches.”
He congratulated the Elk Lake runners and noted that since last June, the combined total of miles between all the runners on the team eclipsed 15,000 miles.
Squier also said goodbye to seniors Mike Bedell, who finished seventh at the Class AA race after collapsing during the Warriors’ second place district finish, Bryan Grosvenor, Sean Carney, Jeff Horvath and Billy Guenter.
“Knowing that I won’t have these guys back next year sometimes brings me to tears,” Squier said. “There are no words.”
Warrior coach Marc Weisgold also spoke on Friday citing that the five senior boys at Elk Lake had been part of six league titles, and amassed a team record of 131-1 in their careers at Elk Lake.
“They are some of the finest athletes to ever come out of Elk Lake,” Weisgold said.
Weisgold said that the Warriors’ goal at the beginning of the year wasn’t to win the state title, but rather to work hard.
“We wanted to work hard. These kids’ season didn’t start in the fall, it started back in June,” Weisgold said. “We had our ups and downs, but we worked hard every step of the way.”
School board president Chuck Place also said remarks at the program, noting that he was proud of an “amazing group of athletes and coaches.”
He said that if anyone wasn’t aware of who Elk Lake was prior to Saturday’s performance, they do now.
“Anybody involved in cross country knows now, these kids put Elk Lake on the map,” Place said.
After the assembly, Warrior Maria Trowbridge, who was Elk Lake’s top female runner at states taking 11th overall said, that she was touched my the school’s support.
“It was really touching how much support we’ve had, to know how many people care about what we’re doing out there,” Trowbridge said. “Saturday was the best day of my life.”
Heading to Hershey, Trowbridge said the girls were just looking to go out there and give it their best shot.
“We had no idea that we’d come home with two state titles,” Trowbridge said.
Bedell agreed, and said that the boys expected a top five finish at best.
“I didn’t even know I was going to run until the day before the race,” Bedell said.
Getting to run was sweet redemption for Bedell, who spent the week in between an emotional District II race and states wondering if he was going to run.
“Our win at states definitely shades out what happened at Districts,” Bedell said. “It was a great way to go out.”