SALEM - The East Palestine girls cross country team's first win of the season gave the Bulldogs something they've been waiting years for.
East Palestine ended Salem's dominance Tuesday by winning its first Columbiana County cross country girls title since 1980.
"We've been solid, but we've never won this year," East Palestine coach Jim Young said. "We've chased South Range around."
East Liverpool’s Hayley Lucas runs the course during the Columbiana County Cross Country Meet Tuesday at Salem. (Photo courtesy Pottersportsonline.com)
"We knew we could do something as long as we worked for it," East Palestine freshman Hannah Hall said. "You can't just start out winning."
East Palestine had five of the top 15 runners at Waterworth Memorial Park to win the close team race with 41 points. Lisbon was second with 48 and United was third with 59.
"They knew to chase anything in blue," Young said. "We knew United was good, too."
Salem finished fourth with 69 points. The Quakers entered the meet having won the last 10 county titles and 19 of the last 21 years.
Junior Allison Parks became the first United girl since 1990 to win the county meet.
"I just wanted to win county for once," Parks said. "Last year was a teasing year. This year I wanted to make up for it."
Parks covered the 3.1-mile course in20 minutes, 9 seconds, finishing 24 seconds ahead of Salem senior Mallory Maher.
"The farther up there I placed, the better it was for the team," Parks said. "I'd like them to get some of the recognition for once. They are my biggest fans. We are are a tight-knit team. This is the first year I've had a team. It's a great feeling."
Parks was coming off a school-record 18:59 at the Malone Invitational on Saturday.
"There's something about that course," Parks said. "Everyone does good there."
She was pushing to break her school record again Tuesday, although a lot of people were watching if she could.
"Pressure comes with it," Parks said. "Every year you get better, people expect more out of you. I try to make it help me, not hurt me."
East Palestine freshman Haley Hall said the girls have gotten tired of seeing the 1980 girls team as the only county champion listed on the wall in the high school gym.
"It just makes you work harder," she said. "We really want to win it and if we worked for it, we could do it."
"We've talked about this two weeks ago," Young said. "It's nice to break the old records."
The Hall twins were East Palestine's first two finishers - Haly in fourth and Hannah in fifth.
East Palestine's other runners did their part by staying ahead of their Lisbon counterparts - sophomore Justina Stanislaw was 11th, junior Korynn Crawford was 12th and junior Sarah Adams was 15th.
"The Hall girls do what they do and Korynn Crawford did a great job. She had her best race," Young said.
Throughout every race, the Hall twins hear people yelling the wrong names at t hem.
"Very, very often," Hannah Hall said. "They know us, but when we're running, we have our hair up."
Before races, people will find out what socks each is wearing so they know who is who.
"Hannah usually wears high socks, too, but today she forget them," Haley Hall said.
The two don't get in a lot of cross country practice because they also play for the East Palestine soccer team.
"We always get to have fun together," Hannah Hall said. "It's a good experience."
The Bulldogs will be aiming for another win at the Inter-Tri County League Meet at McDonald on Tuesday.
"Hopefully we'll place good in the ITCL," Haley Hall said.