First Posted: 10/22/2014

Ally Rome found a positive side effect to missing a significant chunk of the season while dealing with a hip flexor injury.

Just at the point where Rome might normally start to feel worn down by the length of the cross country season, the Dallas junior is instead picking up the pace when it matters most.

Rome won the Class AA girls title Wednesday at the District 2 Cross Country Championships, allowing her to head to the Nov. 1 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Championships on a high note.

Competing hard for just the third time this season, Rome covered the 3.1-mile Elk Lake course in 19:10 for the best of the day in any of the three girls races.

“A lot of times for me, it’s hard at the end of the season, because my legs start to feel a little dead from working hard for so long,” Rome said. “I’m feeling fresh where I’m usually feeling a little tired of racing.”

Rome was fifth out of 376 runners in a strong field at Lehigh University’s Paul Short Invitational Oct. 4, then won the Wyoming Valley Conference’s Ed Narkiewicz and District 2 titles a week apart.

Dallas teammate Lindsey Oremus was second to Rome Wednesday. Freshman Rebecca Balara, another runner who missed some time this season, was the third Mountaineers runner while helping the defending state champions earn another shot in Hershey.

The top two teams in the district qualify for the state meet. Scranton Prep won with 57 points leaving the Dallas team to have to wait out the compiling of scores to find out it had edged Abington Heights, 86-88, for the state trip.

Balara, Riley Oremus and Katie Gross finished between 25th and 30th.

Oremus, like Rome, a state individual medalist while contributing to last year’s PIAA title, led until Rome moved in front in the final 200 meters. Her time of 19:22 was the second-best of the day in any girls’ race.

“Those girls pushed each other exceedingly hard,” Dallas coach Matt Samuel said.

Two girls from Tunkhannock and one from Lake-Lehman were among the 10 individual qualifiers from teams other Scranton Prep and Dallas.

Maggie Toczko was third and Erin Rome eighth for Tunkhannock. Freshman Jade Fry was ninth for Lake-Lehman.

Lake-Lehman had 120 points for fifth out 15 in the team standings. Tunkhannock was sixth with 160.

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