Pine-Richland’s Meredith Price builds lasting legacy with cross country program

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Saturday, October 17, 2020 | 11:01 AM


Meredith Price will focus on every hard workout, sprint and time trial it has taken to get to the WPIAL championship race to motivate herself to finish strong.

On the rare occasion she looks to either side of her, she’ll spot teammates like Angelina Hunkele, Natalie McLean, Elizabeth Hunkele and Audrey DeKunder, all running in a pack and pushing each other to their full potential.

If the WPIAL race plays out like most meets this season, she will pull ahead and try to place in the top five.

“Based on her cross country season and what she did in indoor track, she could be considered the top female runner to ever come through Pine-Richland School District,” coach Mark Hunkele said. “I don’t have records from the late 80s and early 90s, but I seriously doubt anyone was running as fast as she is now.”

Price is one of three Rams, along with McLean, to place in the top 12 at WPIALs in the last 22 years. She has finished no lower than sixth in each of the invitationals Pine-Richland has participated in this season, cutting time at each stop.

When asked about her season, Price talked less about herself and more about her teammates.

“My season is going great, because as a team we’ve met the goals we’ve set so far,” Price said. “It’s great to have runners like Natalie, Audrey, Angelina and Elizabeth around me. I wouldn’t be able to compete at the level that I do without their support.”

Price has had her sights set on the top five at the WPIAL championship all season and has extra motivation to do it with the Rams in the mix to win the team title.

“Our team goals drive our individual goals,” Price said. “There’s only one team going to states and 10 runners going, too. We could have a few runners in the top 10, so we know we can be successful. It’s going be hard, and we need to have our best races, but it’s definitely possible for us to win.”

Price has run particularly well in two invitationals at White Oak Park, the site for the WPIAL race this season.

She cut nearly 15 seconds in two weeks for the Bald Eagle Invitational with a time of 18 minutes, 45 seconds.

“I feel she has another gear where she can continue to cut time,” Mark Hunkele said. “She hasn’t run her best race yet this season, and the focus is to be prepared to be the best at WPIALs. Every week, her times continue to improve. I know she’ll keep getting better.”

Other runners, Price said, are improving just as much as her at the right time.

“We talk about WPIALs almost every practice and think about winning the championship during hard workouts, so we try to be optimistic about it,” Price said. “I’ve wanted to take the team to states ever since I was a freshman. Hopefully Angelina, Natalie, Elizabeth, Audrey and I are all going together. It would mean a lot to win WPIALs and earn an experience like that.”

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