EMS Hosts 46th Annual Cross-Country Invitational

September 16, 2019 / Andrea Wenger
Andrew Gascho and crosss country coach, Katie Cimini, visit with Mrs. Burtner of the Burtner Farm cross country course in Penn Laird.
Andrew Gascho and crosss country coach, Katie Cimini, visit with Mrs. Burtner of the Burtner Farm cross country course in Penn Laird.

More than 500 middle and high school runners from area public and private schools gathered at Peak View Elementary School on Saturday, Sept. 14, for the 46th annual EMHS Cross Country Invitational run on the Burtner Farm course in Penn Laird, Virginia.

Andrew Gascho, in his first year as athletic director for the school, oversaw the event, together with dozens of parent, faculty, staff and student volunteers. “It’s a huge logistical event, but when everyone jumps in and does their part, it’s a great community builder for our school and across the region.”

Volunteer duties included managing parking, t-shirt sales, concessions, scoreboard, shepherding runners through the “chute” at the end of the race, pouring water for runners, and serving as “marshalls” at stations along the course with radios to make sure all runners were accounted for. “I need to especially thank Katie Cimini, one of our cross-country coaches, and Kendal Bauman, assistant athletic director,” said Gascho of the event. “Their expertise and history with the race of more than 30 years combined was key.”

EMHS has hosted the invitational for 46 years. In the past, the event was at the school itself, with the course running through Park Woods. For the past 15 years, it has been at the Burtner Farm in Penn Laird. The course was established by Dr. Daniel L. Burnter and his wife, Mrs. Burtner, pictured (top) talking with Andrew Gacho, athletic director, and Katie Cimini, EMS cross country coach.

Dr. Burtner, who passed away in the fall of 2013, was a pediatrician in Harrisonburg for nearly 40 years who dedicated his life to the health and fitness of area children and youth. A graduate of Keezletown High School, Bridgewater College and the Medical College of Virginia, he established his practices in Harrisonburg and maintained a second office at his home. Mrs. Burtner, who had earned a bachelor of science in nursing from MCV, worked as his nurse. He also established Pediatric Associates of Harrisonburg (now known as Harrisonburg Pediatrics) and remained that firm’s senior partner until his retirement, according to the Trauma Trot website, a race dedicated to Dr. Burtner’s memory.

Participating schools in 2019:
Blue Ridge Christian School
Blue Ridge School
Buffalo Gap
Central (Woodstock)
East Rockingham High School
Elkton Middle School
Fishburne Military School
Flames Homeschool Sports
Grace Christian School
J. Frank Hillyard Middle School
Kate Collins
Madison County
Northern Augusta Road Runners
Peter Muhlenberg Middle School
Shelburn Middle School
Signal Knob Middle School
Stuart Hall School
Stuarts Draft
Thomas Harrison Middle School
Wilbur Pence Middle School

See full results at MileStat.com

Eastern Mennonite Results included: Jakob Gerlach ’23 for varsity boys in fourth place overall out of 95 runners, and, for varsity girls, Halie Mast ’21 in second, Jenna Weaver ’21 in seventh out of 67 runners.

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