Section 1 Championship Report
When your coach is grinning from ear to ear after a big meet and even letting you ride his bike, it's either a very good sign or you know you're in a lot of trouble. The scene at Bowdoin Park on Friday, November 2, 2007 left almost nothing to be desired as the Eagles left it all on XC course and came home with spectacular results. Coach Kaminski told the runners to just go for it all by pushing the pace and see what happened. The result was a race that really put Dobbs Ferry on the charts and jumped them 9 places to #4 in the NYS Class C rankings.
An epic battle in the boys Class C race came down to a few seconds and a few points as four teams gutted out a dash to the finish that left the Eagles 3 points short of a title but long on pride and optimism for next year. Like last year the Eagles will have a runner heading for the State Championship as Patrick Wortner follows the tradition set by Paulina Nunez. Patrick will be heading up to around Potsdam near the Canadian border for the State Championship, and good luck to him. The Eagles' flight is starting to get to some pretty heady heights, and the next few years will be a fun time for running and watching on both the boys and girls sides.
Going into the four-team Class C showdown, perennial champion Pawling was still the favorite as long as all their top runners showed up. But that was the catch, and when 2nd Tiger Tom Brogan's ailing hip kept him out, Irvington became the favorite based on their dominating results at the Coaches Meet. The Bulldogs seized the opportunity and ran with it though the Eagles made the winning margin razor thin. The final result of Irvington 53, Dobbs Ferry 56, Pawling 57, and Bronxville 63 harkened back to the 2005 battle for 3rd place when the Eagles pulled a shocker by beating out four higher rated teams by 3 to 17 points. The Eagles' average time of 18:15.79 was 4.7 seconds behind Irvington and 12.2 behind Pawling, which surely made the Tigers' 1-point deficit to Dobbs that much more frustrating for them.
The Tigers' Colby Delbene won the C championship he missed by 4 seconds in 2005 and ran the second fasted race of the day in 16:42.26 behind only Scarsdale's Julian Sheinbaum in the AA race. Delbene was followed in by his heir-apparent Patrick Wortner in a magnificent 17:35.05 time that pared 14 seconds off his Coaches time. The PB-busting times continued for the boys as the late-charging duo of Evan Fallor and David King came home in 10th and 11th in 18:18.68 and 18:20.48 to shave 53 and 39 seconds off their Bowdoin bests. The biggest jump came from 8th grader Brendan Wortner who achieved the impossible with an 18:23.60 time and a 65 second surge for 14th place and only 9 seconds behind fellow middle-schooler Dayton Flannery of Bronxville. Viktor Mashalov dug home after a brave first-half push to finish 19th with a 13 second improvement to 18:41.07. Dylan Silberfein cut 57 seconds on his way to 31st in 19:18.92, and Pat Newman lopped 78 seconds to finish 34th in 19:27.93.
The Eagles and Bulldogs should continue their battle next year if Irvington remains in Class C. The Eagles will lose Dave and the Bulldogs will lose their 4th and 5th runners. Pawling will lose its top three runners, and Bronxville will graduate their #2, Ben Levitz. The Eagles will be favored for the title if they do the work during the summer.
Dave finishes a three-year career that spanned Dobbs's movement into the big time during a tour of the championship courses at Bear Mountain, Westchester Community College, and Bowdoin Park and 3rd, 4th, and 2nd place team finishes. The last time the championship was held at Bowdoin in 2004, the new Dobbs program finished in 10th place and the best time by an Eagle was 7 seconds behind the time recorded by this year's 7th Eagle. Things are looking very up, and Viktor will likely be stepping up to let his hair go long and wild and replace Dave's departing mane.
The girls' young varsity squad at the Sectionals had less elite expectations as four eighth-graders and two seventh-graders joined with an elder from practically another generation -- 11th grade -- for their third crack at Bowdoin Hill. Missing their graduated state finalist from 2006, Paulina Nunez, and their injured captain, Lauren Hanley, a result matching last year's 6th place finish was a big accomplishment. The Eagles' 156 points total was only 9 behind 5th-place Albertus Magnus.
As usual, the Eagles used a pack to finish ahead of teams like Croton Harmon and Hastings that had top-ranking runners but not as much depth. The Eagles also used strong finishing kicks to pick up places over the last K. After their great results at the Coaches Meet, the girls' times in the Sectionals generally showed more modest gains than the boys, but Sofia Maluf picked up 51 seconds and Mary Constant improved a huge 132 seconds.
Leading the Eagles charge was Sarah King who again made up a 30 meter gap in the final straightaway to beat out a state-ranked Irvington runner, Liz Hevern, for 26th place with a 22:43.32 time. Following close behind were Sarah Coburn in 28th place with a 22:46.16 time and Karen Maehara in 31st with a 22:51.76 time. Sofia Maluf closed at 23:32.28 for 36th, Isabella Natale took 40th in 24:15.16, Rebecca Wiersma ran 24:19.57 for 42nd and Mary Constant took 43rd with 24:27.45. Clara Winder was the lone JV runner for the Eagles and ran a nice 24.27.26.
Bronxville and its top runner Tori Flannery at 19:22.63 were the team and individual champions as expected. Five runners from different teams -- Jackie McGowan, Libby Lazare, Annie Field, Hannah Rose, and Caitlin Jelinek -- join Tori and her teammates on the State Meet squad. Shelby Greany of Suffern was the fastest girl on the day with a an 18:44.62 time in the AA race and Arlington finished as the top overall team by edging out Bronxville by 3 points in the merged results.
Like the boys, the girls look to be in great position to move up the ladder next year. Seven of the top 20 finishers in the Class C race are graduating, while the young Eagles will continue to make big gains in 2008. Bronxville will remain a state powerhouse for one more year, but Dobbs will pass a decimated Albertus Magnus team and should start challenging Irvington, Pleasantville, and Pawling among the top 5 teams in the class. The hungry young Eagle flock may well be pulling the big surprises that the boys managed this year. Exciting times ahead.