By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
SUNBURY -- The list of the fastest times from the first 35 years of the Shikellamy Boosters Cross Country Classic reads like a Who's Who of some of the best runners from the Central Susquehanna Valley that have ever laced up the spikes.
In Saturday's 36th running of the Classic, plenty more names were added to that list.
In the girls race, Danville sophomore Mackenzie Jones and Shikellamy sophomore Treicy Cedeno both posted top-10 times.
Jones, who finished second in the Classic last year, captured the title this time around when she crossed the finish line in 18 minutes, 51 seconds -- a mere nine seconds ahead of Cedeno.
The boys race was won by South Williamsport's Griffin Molino in a commanding (and near-record) time of 15:44. Danville's Tyler Vella was a distant second in 16:30.
After her runner-up finish to Cedeno a year ago, Jones would've been happy to settle for the same result Saturday.
A strong start to the race by Jones put her in the early lead, but Cedeno was never far behind and, at around the 1-mile mark, the Brave got in front of her rival.
Jones would have the final say, however, and with less than a mile remaining she retook the lead and held off Cedeno for the victory.
With her clocking of 18:51, Jones tied Line Mountain grad Angie Saterstad's 2000 finish for fourth-best on the all-time list.
"Treicy was moving, that's for sure, and she set a really good pace," said Jones. "I was like, if I can stay with Treicy then I can at least get second, and I'd be fine with second.
"When we started out I was in the front, and at first I started looking around for (Treicy). Then at some point after the start I just decided I'm going to win this race and I just went for it," added Jones.
Cedeno started the race conservatively, and despite finishing second she was happy with the end result -- a personal record of 19 minutes flat to better the time of 19:23 she set in the Classic a year ago.
Cedeno edged out Saterstad on the all-time list to become the ninth-fastest runner in the Classic. Historically speaking for the Braves cross country program, Cedeno's time is just one second behind the 18:59 set by her predecessor, Lindsey Scheller, in 2005.
"It was a great race and I felt good. Me and Mackenzie worked together throughout the race and I think she did great," said Cedeno. "I tried picking it up and staying with Mackenzie, but I tried my best.
"I said to myself just to keep trying and that it doesn't matter what place I got. It just matters that I have a strong finish," Cedeno added. "I'm pretty happy with my time, and hopefully next week (at districts) we'll be competitive again and we'll see how it goes."
Rounding out the top five were Yoangelys Cedeno, Treicy's younger sister, in 19:48, plus Danville's Maddy Messa in fourth (20:06) and Lewisburg's Allison Graham in fifth (20:08).
Danville went on to claim the team title over Lewisburg, 34-53, as its four other scorers -- Emily Haney, Hannah Maize, Katelyn Maffei and Sara Turner -- all posted top-15 finishes.
"We had a real good race and a good team effort. The times are as good as we've had all year," said Danville coach Jeff Brandt. "We're definitely showing improvement. We had a long break of 18 days, which is a long time without a race, and I was pleased with how we performed."
Molino's winning time put him in some rarefied air with one of the state's all-time best -- Lewisburg grad Chris Spooner, who posted the Classic's top two finishes of 15:26 and 16:03 in 2003 and '02, respectively.
Molino bettered his finish in last year's Classic by almost a full minute when he was narrowly edged out at the finish line by Lewisburg's Sean Walker.
"Griffin is amazing. He's a really good runner," said Vella. "Griffin ran real good and it was his day. I'm impressed."
While Molino was running away with the title, Vella and Mifflinburg's Quincy Amabile had their own battle for second.
Amabile, just a sophomore, pushed Vella to a top-10 placing on the Classic's best list. Vella is now tied with Shikellamy great Steve Thompson for ninth on the list of fastest times.
Amabile completed the course in 16:36, which was good for 16th-best all-time. The fourth- through sixth-place finishers (Mount Carmel's Cory Hoffman, Jersey Shore's Cody Allen and Lewisburg's Nick Scullin) all earned spots on the list of the Classic's top times as well.
"Quincy is a phenomenal runner. He's just a sophomore and he always impresses me," said Vella. "He really pushed me a lot, especially from mile one to two. I don't know how much I got him by at the end, but he was great to run with."
In addition to Hoffman, Mount Carmel had Nate Bartos, Tommy Moser, Ciaran Fisher and Mackenzie Greco all finish in the top 23 to give the Red Tornadoes the team title over Danville, 63-76.
"It's a big win and it's a confidence-booster," said Mount Carmel coach Ben McConnell. "The kids wanted to come out and run hard and see what they can do.
"Our last race was 18 days ago so nobody knew where they were at. This was a good last race going into districts," McConnell added.