By a vote of the league's athletic directors, the Fords were disqualified as a team for holding team practices before Aug. 25, the first day squads may practice, according to league rules.
The Fords finished the regular season 5-0 in league meets, including a 26-29 win over Malvern Prep. Fords coach Sandy Mercer said his team would have beaten the Friars, 50-58, in the league championship meet had its score been counted.
"We may not have won the league championship, but we feel we are the best team," Mercer said.
In the meet, Penn Charter's Shawn Morgan won in 16 minutes and 30 seconds, followed by Haverford's Connor O'Callahan (17:22) and Malvern's Pat Kennedy (17:35).
Haverford's Dan Kelly was fourth in 17:43. Other local finishers in the top 10 were Malvern's Dave Black in eighth (18:01) and Haverford's Jim Edmunds in ninth (18:03).
"I'm very happy with the win," Malvern coach Bob Schwelm said. "Just like last year, the seniors really came through for us."
The Friars ran the race without two of their top five runners - number two man Steve Seguiti and number five Matt Beckley. Both had minor injuries.
According to Schwelm, Terry McCabe (14th) and Kevin Hickey (17th) were the keys to the win.
"They both did way beyond what I expected," Schwelm said. "I told them that they had to come in the top 20 for us to do anything, and they both ran great."
Also for Malvern, Brian Hilger was 16th.
Schwelm did not want to discuss Haverford's disqualification or how his team would have done with Seguiti and Beckley.
"You can't get into that," he said of the injuries. "Those things happen in cross-country."
According to Mercer, it has become a Haverford team tradition in recent years to get together at the end of the summer. For a week beginning Aug. 19, several members of the team went to a home of one of the team's runners in the Adirondack mountains.
"In the past neither myself or (assistant coach) Sam Head were able to go," Mercer said. "This year (Head) went. The kids played golf and swam and ran, and the league considered this a formal practice."
Mercer said that runners from other teams attended cross-country camps over the summer and that if Head had not been present, the trip to the mountains would not have been a violation.
"There were no formal practices; the kids ran on their own, which they would do anyway, a sort of 'captain's practice,' " Mercer said.
While Malvern is a senior-dominated team, Haverford will have several runners back next year - including O'Callahan and Kelly - and should be very strong.
Like Malvern, Episcopal went into the league meet without two key runners. But the Churchmen were used to it, as their top runners, Scott Anderson (mononucleosis) and Nathaniel Stinnett (pulled stomach muscle), have been sidelined all season.
"I'm very pleased with what they were able to accomplish," coach Frank McAlpin said of his team, which finished the season 7-3-1, 2-2-1 in the Inter- Ac.
Sean McDermott finished 13th and was Episcopal's top runner in the meet.
"We're all pretty proud of what we did this year without our top two runners," McDermott said. "We had a good year."