By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
SUNBURY -- Moments after the start of the boys race at Saturday's 35th Annual Shikellamy Boosters Cross Country Classic, Lewisburg's Sean Walker snuck a quick peak to his right to check the status of his main rival, Southern Columbia's Andrew Steely.
In the end, however, it wasn't Steely who Walker had to be worried about.
The race came down to Walker and South Williamsport's Griffin Molino. And after some jostling for position in the final 200 meters, Walker pulled out a dramatic one-second victory in 16 minutes, 40 seconds -- good for 18th best on the Classic's all-time list.
The girls race was won easily by Shikellamy freshman Treicy Cedeno in a personal-best 19:23, which was good for 17th place all-time. Danville freshman Mackenzie Jones was second in 19:51.
A refusal to lose by Walker, in his final year at Lewisburg, fueled the victory over Molino, who coincidentally claimed a win over the Green Dragon in the 3,200-meter final at last spring's District 4 track and field meet.
"When it comes down to it, Sean doesn't like to lose," said Lewisburg coach Mark Sundberg. "He made me a little nervous waiting that long to make a statement, but I knew the Southside kid was a good runner."
Walker and Molino were neck-and-neck coming into Shikellamy Stadium, and as the two made the final turn for the homestretch the Mountie passed the Green Dragon on the right.
The pass caused Walker to lose his footing a little bit and slip off the track, but he recovered to retake the lead and he fended off Molino's advances in the final few meters for the win.
The first five finishers were all close, as Sullivan County's Kelby Mullen was third in 17:44, Steely ended up fourth in 17:47 and Danville's Tyler Vella was fifth in 17:48.