Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Final Meet Brings Showdowns

The final boys cross country meet of the Lancaster-Lebanon League regular season Tuesday could offer a preview of what to look for in the upcoming L-L championships.

Ephrata's Zach Lefever and McCaskey's Nathan Henderson -- both undefeated -- will face off as McCaskey hosts Ephrata, Elizabethtown and Lancaster Catholic.

Lefever also is the only runner to have finished ahead of his teammate Nate Becker, who comes in just below Henderson and Lefever in the L-L individual rankings.

Both juniors, Lefever and Henderson have developed a friendly rivalry.

"We're kind of at the same training level," said Lefever, who noted that they attended a cross country camp together at Kutztown this past summer.

The camp "gave me a lot of confidence," he said.

Through weightlifting, Lefever said, he's added more muscle, which has helped his speed and kicking technique.

From 2014 to 2015 there's been "a 100 percent improvement," he said, as he's lowered his personal best 5K time from 16:30 to 15:47.

Lefever "grew up and matured" while keeping the same work ethic, said his coach, Mike Hershberger.

Lefever also owns two Dodgeball for Diabetes Champion titles, of which Henderson has none.

"It's going to be a good race," McCaskey cross country coach Mike Craighead said of Tuesday's matchup.

Henderson, who also is looking toward the Lancaster-Lebanon League meet as well as districts and states, "is certainly in the best shape of his life," Craighead said.

And Henderson pointed out that while the meet Tuesday is on McCaskey's home course at Lancaster County Central Park, the L-L championships on Oct. 20 will be hosted at Ephrata Middle School, Lefever's home course.

Like Lefever, Henderson set a new personal best this season, running a 15:41 at the Carlisle High School Invitational.

He said his next goal is break 15:30.