HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. – Thanks to top five finishes by freshmen Nicholas Sturm (Hamburg, Pa. / Hamburg) and Joseph Phifer (Union, N.J. / Union), as well as crucial depth up and down the team's lineup, Penn State Harrisburg bested four other squads to emerge victorious at the Lions' home invitational held at Shank Park on Friday evening, Oct. 4. The Lions took home the team trophy while the 8k race was won individually by Penn State Abington's Alex Kane.
Sturm finished a little less than two minutes after Kane, good enough to earn him second place overall. The Abington runner posted a time of 26:41 while the Harrisburg frosh crossed the line with a time of 28:39. Phifer was the team's next highest finishing runner and his time of 29:44 earned him fourth place overall.
The next wave of finishers clinched the victory for Penn State Harrisburg as three Blue & White runners crossed the line within 26 seconds of each other. Sophomores Jordan Fuhrman (Columbia, Pa. / Hempfield), Tyler Fry (Harrisburg, Pa. / Central Dauphin East) and Edgar Makimoto (Middleburg, Pa. / Selinsgrove Area) earned eighth, ninth and 11th place finishes, respectively. Furhman racked up a time of 30:32 and Fry finished the race seven seconds later. Makimoto's run ended after 30:58.
The trio's performance proved the difference in Harrisburg's team championship as three Abington top ten finishes weren't enough due to the opposing Lions' fourth and fifth runners placing in 17th and 18th; too low to secure a second-straight title for their team.
Sophomore Adam Campbell (Columbia, Pa. / Hempfield) and junior Tom Chaney (Lancaster, Pa. / Lampeter-Strasburg) finished just outside the top 20 in 21st and 23rd places, respectively, while freshman Korey Christian (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. / Walter Panas) turned on the jets down the home stretch to finish 26th. Freshman Robert Sunderland (Mt. Laurel, N.J. / Lenape), sophomore Lucas Boerman (Mohnton, Pa. / Twin Valley) and junior Malcolm Parker (Mount Rainier, Md. / Northwestern) rounded out Penn State Harrisburg's runners with all finishing the course in under 39 minutes.
Following the race, Sturm and Phifer accepted their individual medals and the rest of the men were presented the team trophy in front of their hometown fans. The victory was the first of Penn State Harrisburg Head Coach Danielle Lynch's short tenure. The Lions will look to go back-to-back when they take part in Lancaster Bible's Charger Invitational next Saturday morning, Oct. 12.