If all goes well, the Dallas Mountaineers will again finish their cross country season on the Hershey Parkview Course Nov. 5.
The defending state Class 2A boys champions tested themselves on the course Sept. 24 in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Foundation Meet.
Dallas finished third in a tightly contested Boys Blue race and, in the process, gave itself an idea of the potential competition to have to beat in order to repeat as state champions.
The Blue race is for Class 2A teams.
Many of the state’s top teams and individuals use the Foundation Meet as a chance to sample the state championship course and a sizable representation of some of the competition that will be there in November for the PIAA Cross County Championships.
District 2 was well-represented at the race, including an individual win for Forest City’s Jennifer Korty in the Girls White (Class A) race. Korty has won three invitationals this year, including the season-opening Cliff Robbins Sr. Invitational, which was held at Misericordia University.
Dallas has the best performance by a District 2 boys team.
The Mountaineers finished third out of 31 teams with 128 points.
Dallas was 12 points behind team champion York Suburban and 8 behind runner-up Greensburg Salem while finishing 54 ahead of fourth-place Holy Ghost Prep.
One thing the Mountaineers learned a year ago was that the PIAA Foundation Meet was not the final say in what would happen with a state title on the line. York Suburban, the 2014 state champion, beat Dallas at last year’s Foundation Meet, but the Mountaineers avenged third last loss with the state title on the line.
Jack Zardecki led the Mountaineers, finishing eighth out of 223 runners by running the 3.1-mile course in 16:53.
Mitchell Rome and Jason Culp came in 23rd and 24th. Josh Wyandt was 29th and Adam Borton 51st to complete the five-man team score.
Lake-Lehman entered individuals in the race. Riley Newman had the highest finish for the Black Knights, taking 114th.
Dallas placed seventh and Lake-Lehman 17th out of 30 teams in the Girls Blue race.
Megan Borton led Dallas, placing 30th out of 197 runners.
Madison Baloga was 56th, Riley Oremus 57th, Rebecca Baloga 73rd and Abby Zolner 75th.
Jace Garnick led Lake-Lehman, finishing 66th. Lauryn Pembleton, in 71st, and Olivia Vasey, in 80th, also made the top half of the field.