UPPER PROVIDENCE — During the 2017 fall season, Haverford High sophomore Mike Donnelly earned All-Delco first team honors in cross country.
Grace Forbes, a Strath Haven junior, was given All-Delco honorable mention — in soccer.
When practice for the 2018 fall sports season began in August, Donnelly was back running with his Haverford teammates. They were hoping to become the first Fords team to earn the Delaware County championship.
Forbes spent her summer puzzling over whether she would remain her younger sister Maggie’s soccer teammate or would make the move to becoming a cross country runner.
With Donnelly leading the way, Haverford easily claimed its first Delco Meet team title while Forbes made a statement in her first year as a cross country runner by pacing Haven to the county championship.
For their outstanding performances from the start to the finish of the cross country campaign, Donnelly and Forbes are the Daily Times Cross Country Runners of the Year.
Joining Donnelly on the 2018 All-Delco team are teammates Brendan Campbell, Josh Fingerhut, and Evan Peetros, as well as Sean Garrett of Garnet Valley, Patrick Theveny of Penncrest and Radnor’s Ethan Zeh.
Forbes is joined on the girls All-Delco team by Sophie Cohen of Penncrest, Megan Cook of Upper Darby, Strath Haven’s Paige Day, Christine Mancini and Katie Till of Cardinal O’Hara, and Penn Wood’s Elicia Moore.
Cohen, who is a freshman, Day, a sophomore, and juniors Fingerhut, Garrett, Theveny, and Till are the underclassmen named to the first team. Donnelly, Theveny, and Till picked up first-team honors for the second consecutive year.
The All-Delco team was selected by the Daily Times in consultation with area coaches.
Donnelly started running when he was “fairly young, doing road races and what-not.”
Forbes was the 2018 Daily Times Girls Track Runner of the Year after earning silver medals in the 800-meter run and 4 x 800-meter relay at the PIAA Class AAA Championships in May.
“I was busy this summer balancing working at Springhaven Country Club, training for soccer and cross country, and going on vacations with my family,” Forbes said. “My childhood coach (Glenn Venturini) sent me a letter two weeks before preseason (practice) which sparked my interest in solely running cross country.
“My family and I traveled to Brigantine Beach and I spent the majority of each day there contemplating if I should continue soccer or focus on running. On the last day, I finally made the difficult decision that it would be most beneficial to my happiness and my future if I were to make the switch to cross country.”
A loud roar of approval that August day probably came from Strath Haven coach Bill Coren when he learned of Forbes’ decision.
“I know she missed the girls on the soccer team, including her sister,” Coren said. “But she was such a pleasure to coach. The biggest thing was trying to hold her back on long runs. She was just going too fast, but her quote was always ‘I can’t run any slower than that.’”
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