The 2000’s

 

     As the new millennium broke the 2000 team was one that got better and better as the season progressed. Not only did 7 of the top 8 runners return from 1999 but the team received another big boost when soccer to cross country convert Tim Konopka joined the team. Mike Lang, as he did in 99’, led the team. He was undefeated in dual meets, first at the Bulldog Invitation in 15:57, second at Delcos, and Central League Champ. As team captain he set the standard for all following captains. Through his leadership the team coalesced from a good team to a great team. They had a 9 – 0 league record and won the Central League Championship meet. Once again at Delcos we had to settle for a second place finish. However at Districts, despite Mike Lang having an off day with a viral infection, his teammates put it all together to finish 5th and a trip to States. It was the first Haverford XC team to make States in 32 years. At States, without the services of Mike Lang, the team still managed to score a top ten finish with an 8th place. Other outstanding runners were Steve Lang, Ben Shababo, Tim Konopka, Andy Talarowski, Eddie Dutch, Dave Hollinger, and Adam Hannan.

 

    The 2001 team had Eddie Dutch and Tim Konopka trading off as the #1 runner for the Fords. .Other key runners on the team that went 9 – 0 to secure the Central League title were Dave Hollinger, Adam Hannan, Dave Coughlin, Dennis Hagan, Kevin Brusstar, and Andy Fox.

Both Eddie Dutch and Tim Konopka continued their strong season at Districts, both qualifying for States.

 

    In 2002 the team extended its’ win streak to 32 meets. Going into the final meet with a 7 – 0 record we faced off against Upper Darby also with a 7 – 0 record. In an extremely frustrating loss the Fords lost the meet and league title in the last 10 yards went Dave Coughlin went down (from illness & effort) and an Upper Darby runner passed him to the give Upper Darby a 1 point edge and victory. Eddie Dutch won this race and all other Central League races including the Central League Championships. Running extremely well in the #2 spot all season was Dave Hollinger. The Dutch & Hollinger duo was supported by Dave Coughlin, Patrick Donnelly, Kevin Brusstar, Gerry Story, and John Hedrick. Near season’s end both Dutch and Hollinger were first team All-Delco selections and both qualified for States. For Eddie Dutch, his 15:58 District performance marked the third consecutive season that he qualified for States.

 

    Another one loss season was in order for 2003. In a similar year to 2002 we could not defeat Upper Darby. Junior Patrick Donnelly made a big jump to earn the #1 position .His rapid improvement was impressive since as a freshman Patrick had a personal best of a modest 21:08. His work ethic spread to the rest of the team and by year’s end other varsity runners were John Hedrick, Geoff Schneider, Dave Hill, George Walton, Kevin Dougherty and Matt Hand.

 

    Patrick Donnelly was even stronger in the 2004 season as the Fords’ #1 runner. He was usually closely followed by fellow senior John Hedrick all season. One sophomore, Matt Hand, and two freshmen, Matt Keehn and Sam Stuart helped power the team to a 7 – 2. record. Other varsity runners were Gerry Story, Ryan Dougherty, and Peter Sherwood. For the 3rd consecutive year the team couldn’t get past Upper Darby plus the team had a poor day in losing to Ridley. However at the Central League Championship meet the Fords rebounded with a strong second place finish with Donnelly (2nd), Hedrick (6th), and Stuart (13) finishing strong. This meet enabled the team to have an overall 2nd place final standing in the league.

    At Districts the top 5 averaged 16:51 on the Lehigh course. Earning a trip to States was Patrick Donnelly with a 16:11 effort. Sam Stuart also ran a notable time for a 9th grader, 16:55, in the varsity race.

 

    With the graduation of Patrick Donnelly the team still returned 4 of their top 5 varsity runners for the 2005 season. Not only that but the team picked up the services of junior soccer convert George Walton who would be the teams’ # 1 runner in every meet. This year Strath Haven had a very powerful squad and handed the team its only loss early in the season on their way to an 8 – 1 mark. The Fords had 4 runners go sub 17:00 at Rose Tree to finally regain “the Shoe” from Upper Darby. Going into 2005 Upper Darby had won “the Shoe” 30 times to Haverford’s 24 wins. Nobody knew it at the time but the Fords would keep possession of the “the Shoe” for the next 12 seasons (going into 2017).

 

    At Districts the team’s top 5 runners averaged 16:31 to enable the team to finish 6th and earn a surprise trip to States. Leading the way was George Walton (16:13), Sam Stuart (16:21), John Hedrick (16:33), Matt Hand (16:38), and Matt Keehn (16:49). Also joining the team at States was Jon Matusky , Tim Betz, and alternate Billy Mogavero. Strath Haven finished 5th at Districts. In the PIAA State Championships we finished 8th and also had the satisfaction of placing higher than Strath Haven.

 

    The 2006 squad was arguably the fastest team or one of the fastest teams ever. The team finished with an 11 – 0 overall record. At the Abington Invitation both the varsity and JV teams came in first. In the first race at Coopertown George Walton set a school record of 15:47. The second time the team ran at Coopertown (vs. Upper Darby and Strath Haven) . George Walton (15:43), Sam Stuart (15:54), and Matt Keehn (15:59) made sure that “the Shoe” was not leaving Haverford. At the Paul Short Invitation 18 Ford runners ran sub 19:00 on the Lehigh course. The varsity finished 5th of 50 and the JV 2nd of 30. Walton, Stuart and Keehn were 1st team in both All-Delco and All-League with top 7 finishes.

    District 1 was loaded in 2006. We ran a school record #1-5 average of 16:16 and that only netted us a 9th place finish. All 7 varsity runners recorded sub 17:00 times in the race. George Walton (15:41), Matt Keehn (15:57), Sam Stuart (16:18), Matt Hand (16:35), freshman Ed Donnelly (16:46), sophomore Steve Hand (16:55) and Jon Matusky (16:56). Walton’s time is the fastest Haverford time ever at Lehigh. In the unseeded race our top 5 JV runners averaged 17:34 for the course. Qualifying for their second trip to States were George Walton and Matt Keehn.

 

    Penncrest had a loaded team in 2007 and was the only team to defeat us as we recorded a 10 -1 season. Despite the graduation of George Walton the team picked up senior Ricky Anthony, who was a very competitive racer, and matched up well to the 2006 team. At the Abington Invitation Matt Keehn became the first Ford to run sub 16:00 on their course with a 15:56 second place effort. The team retained its’ championship trophy as 5 Fords placed in the top 15 slots. By mid season 29 Haverford runners had run 19:56 or faster. At the Briarwood Invitation Matt Keehn finished first in 16:22 (school course record) and Sam Stuart 2nd in 16:28. Despite placing 6 runners in the top 23 places we finished 2nd for the fifth time in 8 years. At Paul Short the varsity was 6th and the JV’s 4th. Matt Keehn capped his senior season in winning the Central League title with a 16:08 run at Rose Tree Park. By now the Central League was expanded to 12 teams with the addition of Harriton and Garnet Valley.

    Districts were a repeat of last season as we finished 9th. #1 -5 time average was 16:26.

Matt Keehn (15:56) qualified for States for the 3rd time. Other outstanding runners throughout the year were Steve Hand, Ed Donnelly, Ricky Anthony, Ethan Cole, Woo Kim, Jon Kays, Jack Barnett, Jason Kunsa, and Billy Mogavero.

 

    Except for the last two meets Steve Hand was the # 1 runner on the 2008 team that went 9 – 2. Graduation resulted in the loss of 5 of the top 7 runners from 2007. The team was improved by the addition of talented junior Jeff Hosan and vastly improved Greg Nicosia. Penncrest was still very powerful and Lower Merion had the best one two punch in league history. Steve Hand finished 3rd at Abington (16:45) and was our top placer at Briarwood (16:39). By the Paul Short Invitation the Fords were running well. Steve Hand became the first Haverford runner to break 16:00 at Paul Short with his 15:59 run. At the Central League Championships Ed Donnelly regained form after running many meets hampered by illness. Whereas we had a healthy Donnelly now Steve Hand caught a bug and was off form. At Districts Ed Donnelly earned his first trip to States with a 16:01 performance. Steve Hand’s time of 16:06 just missed the cutoffs for States. The top runners on the varsity this year were Steve Hand, Ed Donnelly, Scott Walton, Greg Nicosia, Jeff Hosan, Josh Kays, Ethan Cole, and Jack Barnett.

 

    The decade ended just as it started with an undefeated 2009 team (Overall record 13 – 0).  This team was led by a trio of outstanding seniors, Ed Donnelly, Josh Kays, and Jeff Hosan who set the tone all season. At the Abington Invitation the team placed 2nd and went on to win all dual meets easily leading up to the Paul Short Invitation. At Paul Short Ed Donnelly ran a quick 15:49 and the varsity 5 averaged 16:25 on the day. The team’s 2nd place finish was our best placing ever for this meet. The JV team also finished 2nd. Among our top 12 runners 10 set PR’s. At Delco’s we were all set to win our first title ever but were upset by O’Hara. Ed Donnelly became the 5th Haverford runner to win the individual crown. The JV squad won the Delco race scoring just 20 points. The next strongest team in the league, Strath Haven, was put away with a 1, 2, 3 Haverford sweep by the seniors. In that race Ed Donnelly set a school course record at Coopertown in 15:42. After winning the Central League Championship meet, in which Ed Donnelly won with Josh Kays only one second behind, the team set its’ sites on Districts. Despite our top three seniors qualifying for States we lost a bid to States by one place Other varsity runners were underclassmen Woo Kim, Ryan Thompson, Jon Kays, Jared Gross, and Alex Giannascoli.

     During the decade the team had an 88 -8 record in Central League competition!