When Jason Weller graduated last year, the Boyertown boys' cross country team lost the greatest runner in the team's history. But last Wednesday, October 17, Mark Dennin proved that he could take over Jason's spot as the top runner on the team when he completed his perfect PAC-10 season with an individual championship.Dennin placed first overall with a time of 15:17.6, a whop-ping 36 seconds ahead of second place finisher Jemmy Tarsnane of Perkiomen Valley.
In addition, Dennin's performance paced the Boyertown's boys' team to a team championship in an amazingly tight battle with Perkiomen Valley.
The two teams were tied at 52-52. The tiebreaker came on the sixth runner to cross the finish line with each team.
Boyertown's Justin Kelly finished ahead of Perk Valley's Stephen Carney by less than a second to give Boyertown the crown.
It took awhile to sort out as officials spent two hours confirming the results. There was confusion about one of the St. Pius X runners and his number. He finished in 19th place, but was placed well down the list which would effect the points for the other teams. By the time it was finally sorted out, the Bears were the champs.
"The team and I were very nervous about the outcome of the race," said Boyertown head coach Ron Hofmanner. "We had an idea that we won, but we didn't want to celebrate until everything was finalized in case something happened. When the news finally came through, everyone was happy and relieved, we could finally bask in the moment."
In addition to Weller's performance, teammate David Moyer cane in fifth place in a time of 16:50.1, Caleb Kiefer finished 10th in 17:09.2, and Steven Taylor was 13th in 17:09. Chris Kelly was the fifth Boyertown finisher.
"I am very proud of the boys for their performances yesterday," said Hofmanner. "They were very disappointed after losing to Perk Valley in the dual meet and were anxious to race them again.
"The end of the race was very exciting with several of our boys' passing two or three runners in the last 200 meters of the race. If it weren't for that desire and hard work at the end of the race, we would have never been able to achieve our goal of winning the championship."
For Dennin, it was a season much like Weller's last year. He finished first in every meet with a few records broken along the way. The PAC-10 championship was the icing on the cake for Weller.
"Mark's race was fantastic," said Hofmanner. "He set goal for himself and worked hard to achieve them. it has been difficult this year for Mark, with the constant comparisons to Jason Weller, but I think he has handled the pressure well and accomplished many of his goals. I think his greatest accomplishments are yet to come, with districts and the state meet coming up over the next two weeks."