Instead, the Rams rely on a pack of finishers to score well, and thus far the plan has been working.

On Wednesday afternoon, on their home course, the Rams swept past Phoenixville and Lansdale Catholic in Pioneer Athletic Conference action.

In the boys race, Spring-Ford won, 26-33, over Phoenixville and 25-32 over Lansdale Catholic. The Crusaders defeated the Phantoms, 26-33.

In the girls division, the Rams topped the Phantoms, 25-34, and the Crusaders, 17-45. Phoenixville picked up a victory against LC, 21-35.

On a hot afternoon for the first day of fall, Phoenixville had individual winners in both races. Chris Castleman took the boys race in 17:44 while Rachel Yodis and Kelly Porter came in 1-2 in the girls race. Their times were 21:43 and 21:45, respectively.

"The kids get used to cool mornings and then it pops up to 86 degrees," said Spring-Ford coach Mike Young. "That could cause problems. But we tell the kids to stay hydrated and they did well. It was a really competitive meet, pretty close. We knew Castleman was going out, but Phoenixville, us and Lansdale Catholic are evenly matched so I am really happy with the performance."

The Rams came in 2-4-5-7-8-9-10 against the Phantoms. Their leaders were Ashton Johnson (18:21), Jed Stalker (18:37), Tom Wertman (18:45), Woody Wilson (19:09) and Cameron Legge (19:18). The Rams were missing No. 1 man Josh Anspach, who has a separated clavicle.

Behind Castleman, Phoenixville's Chris Grover finished fourth overall in 18:36 and Dan Nunez placed ninth in 18:58 before a big dropoff. The Phantoms were missing No. 2 man Ricky Watson, who has a foot injury but is expected back next week.

"It was hot out there," said Castleman, who won the race handily. "My time was not really what I wanted."

The reason, Castleman said, is his recovery from shin splints suffered in the PAC-10 Championships during distance runs in spring track.

"I changed my workout plan," Castleman said. "Normally, Monday I do a speed workout and Tuesday is a 20-minute jog. But because of my injury, I started the season late. I have to build up quicker. So Monday I did distance, seven or eight miles, and yesterday (Tuesday) was a speed workout. I really feel it. Last week it was not that bad, but today I felt it on the hills. The first mile was crazy. The second half is pretty flat, but it is all open so you feel the sun beating down."

After running year-round for three years, doctors told Castleman to take a break for a month and a half. Castleman would like to work up to 40-mile weeks if possible.

"I wish I could have started the season in the beginning of summer," he said. "It is bothering me. I can't get my base down. I am running faster than past years, but I haven't improved as much as I could."

Young is confident in his pack of runners.

"We don't have a runner like Castleman or the two Phoenixville girls," Young said. "But we have runners who can fill in against the other team's 3-4-5 runners. We can take four or five places, which is a nice pack. We are bunched pretty close together."

Steph Steiner placed third overall for the Rams at 22:48, followed by Debbie Freed (23:17) and Lauren Slack (23:56), who came in fourth and fifth. Laura Procario (24:20), Amanda Rega (24:25) and Kate Mahoney (24:34) finished seventh through ninth.


Spring-Ford 26, Phoenixville 33

Spring-Ford 25, Lansdale Catholic 32

Lansdale Catholic 26, Phoenixville 33

Chris Castleman (Phx) 17:44; Ashton Johnson (SF) 18:21; Pete Staudenmeier (LC) 18:33; Chris Grover (Phx) 18:36; Jed Stalker (SF) 18:37; Chris Hughes (LC) 18:45; Tom Wertman (SF) 18:45; R.J. Every (LC) 18:56; Dan Nunez (Phx) 18:58; Woody Wilson (SF) 19:09; Dave Martz (LC) 19:17; Cameron Legge (SF) 19:18; Dan King (SF) 19:23; Nick Genuario (SF) 19:36; A.J. Gambino (SF) 19:38.


Spring-Ford 25, Phoenixville 34

Spring-Ford 17, Lansdale Catholic 45

Phoenixville 21, Lansdale Catholic 35

Rachel Yodis (Phx) 21:43; Kelly Porter (Phx) 21:45; Steph Steiner (SF) 22:48; Debbie Freed (SF) 23:17; Lauren Slack (SF) 23:56; Claire Zentgraf (LC) 24:13; Laura Procario (SF) 24:20; Amanda Rega (SF) 24:25; Kate Mahoney (SF) 24:34; Bridget Burger (LC) 25:02; Elizabeth Bradford (Phx) 25:06; Lena Stoltzfus (Phx) 26:13; Lyndsey Hartman (SF) 26:29; Sarah Colihan (Px) 26:44; Morgan Capac (LC) 27:18.

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