By Marion Valanoski
For The Daily Item
MILTON -- Some say the third time is the charm, and for the Danville boys cross country team that came to fruition Tuesday at the Baughner Elementary School where the Milton High course is located and two divisional championships were attained.
In a battle of unbeatens on the boys' side, the Ironmen, who were topped by Mount Carmel in a pair of invitational meets, went head-to-head. Danville nudged the Red Tornadoes, 27-28, thanks to the outstanding performance of runner-up Joseph Malafronte to finish the regular season unbeaten while sending the Division III champions to their first loss of the season.
On the girls' side, Danville had little trouble in downing Williamsport, 15-48, to claim its fourth consecutive Division II title with an undefeated campaign as Mackenzie Jones led the way with a winning time.
Crafty old master Jeff Brandt matched up against one of his former standouts, Ben McConnell of the Red Tornadoes, and experience won out. Of course, the outstanding running of the Ironmen helped to earn the hard-fought victory and claim the Division II title for Danville.
Danville and Mount Carmel competed against each other in the Hershey and Bloomsburg invitationals, and if the two meets were scored like a regular event the Red Tornadoes would have slipped by the Ironmen both times by three points and one, respectively, adding hype going into the much-anticipated showdown to end the regular year undefeated.
"We got closer to them each time and I felt that (Tuesday's) outcome could very well be determined by where our sixth runner finished in the race," Brandt said. "I knew we had to get solid grouping but (Joe) Malafronte really came through with a great effort and that proved to be the deciding factor."