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WELLSBORO — It’s been a long time coming, but the NTL large school Cross Country Title is coming back to Wildcat Country.

Athens clinched the title by defeating Wellsboro 15-42, despite losing to Wyalusing 19-36. This is their first title since 1997.

“It feels really good. Some of these boys have been working for a few years now”, noted Head Coach Michael Bronson.

Wyalusing is one of the top teams in the state, but Athens put together quite the performance themselves on a wet and hilly course, having runners finish fifth through eighth, and all seven runners coming in at under 21 minutes.

Leading Athens was team captain TJ Toscano who after the race was quite jubilant about the result.

“We’ve been trying (to win the league) for so long. We thought this could be our year and we worked hard all summer and we finally got it”, he said after the race.

Toscano noted the core group from the team was running over 30 miles a week in the summer, and that was evident to onlookers as the Athens runners did not seem phased by the less than ideal conditions.

Wyalusing went 1-through-4 with Zion Laudermilch (18:22), Alex Patton (18:23), Kemuel Laudermilch (18:23) and Logan Newton (18:38).

For Athens Toscano finished in 18:43 for fifth, Kyle Anthony finished in 19:22 in sixth, Matt Gorsline finished in 19:29 to take seventh, Connor Dahl finished in 19:38 for eighth and Nate Rickett clocked at 20:42 for 10th.

Brandon Jones came in three second after that for 11th and Sander Bertsch beat the 21 minute mark by one second for 13th.

Aidan Fletcher was the leading finisher for Wellsboro in 12th place with a time of 20:50.