Section 1 Championship 2008
The Eagle XC guys motto for next year will have to be "Wait 'til next year" again as they fell a point short of earning a trip to the New York State Championship at Bowdoin Park on Friday, October 31 at the Section 1 Championship. The guys can take some consolation that it took a supreme effort from every Irvington runner to beat them and that the Eagles will enter 2009 as the big favorite for the Class C championship. The Eagle girls can also look forward with great anticipation to next year after a huge effort at the Sectional earned them a surprise 4th place and set them up for a year without limits in 2009.
Three Eagles will also travel on the State Championship as members of the Section 1 team as Patrick and Brendan Wortner earned 3rd and 4th places on the boys' side and Sarah King on the girls' side matched Brendan's 4th. The trio will run at Sunken Meadows Park on Saturday, November 8th, the first time the Eagles have had more than one representative at the States in the 5 years of their recent existence.
The boys' match with the Bulldogs could not have been closer, as just the point and an average .05 seconds separated the two teams. The Eagles improved their average time from the 2007 Sectional by 13 seconds to 18:01.09, which was better than the Class B champion Byram Hills but still only earned 2nd in Class C and 9th overall in Section 1. Behind Irvington's 47 points and Dobbs Ferry's 48 came Pawling with 100, Bronxville with 118, and Dover with 124. Julian Saliani and Ian Mathews came in 1-2 for Irvington, and Matt Menard in 9th, Sam Lindberg in 14th and Zak Siegel in 21st completed the job for the Bullodgs. Joining the Wortners and the Bulldogs on the Sectional team were Marco Sammon of Croton Harmon in 5th, and Dayton Flannery and Jack Hutton of Bronxville in 6th and 7th. The times for the Eagles were Patrick Wortner in 17:13, Brendan Wortner shedding 30 seconds from his personal best at 17:13 for a Speed Rating of 168, Evan Fallor in 8th at 18:02, Pat Newman in 16th at 18:45, George Epstein in 17th at 18:45, Ryan Malpass in 27th at 19:13, and Boris Opacic in 31st at 19:30.
The girls entered their race with expectations being that Bronxville would win the championship easily followed by a surging Pawling team, a fading Irvington team, an up-and-coming Hastings team and then Dobbs Ferry and Pleasantville further back for 5th and 6th. Though the Broncos won their 5th straight 1-C title by placing 5 runners in the top 10 and Caitlin Hudson breezed to 1st, both the Bulldogs and Eagles pulled big surprises as Irvington again beat a team by 1 point, this time Pawling for 2nd, and the Eagles caught Hastings for 4th by a narrow 5 points, topping their best finish of 5th place back in 2004 and also finishing a superb 17th overall in Section 1 with a very young team.
The Eagles' top runner freshman Sarah King went into the race as the 9th best runner in 1-C, but she unleashed a shocker on two-time defending champion Tori Flannery of Bronxville and one of the race's co-favorites, Annie Field of Irvington, by beating them out for 4th as they finished 5th and 6th. Following the champion Hudson, Pleasantville's Libby Lazare and Bronxville's Meredith Rizzo finished 2nd and 3rd. King dropped 53 seconds from her best time at Bowdoin as she stalked the bigger, older runners around the course and finished strong in 20:31 for a Speed Rating of 106. Broncos Amelia Phillips and Henrietta Miers took 9th and 10th to complete the champion's top 5, and Croton Harmon's Sarah Costa in 7th and Pawling's Caitlin Jelinek in 8th completed the Section 1 team.
That the Eagles were able to pass Hastings for 4th place was due greatly to the continuing eruption of the 8th grade quartet that has formed the bulk of the team all year. On Halloween, both Rebecca Wiersma and Chloe Wang beat King's Eagle record for 8th graders at the Bowdoin course Sectional as they reeled off superb times of 22:20 and 22:40 for 21st and 23rd and Speed Ratings of 70 and 63. Senior Isabella Natale finished up her XC career with a 23:21 for 31st and Mary Constant and Clara Winder completed the exploits of the 8th graders with 32nd and 38th place spots in 23:27 and 23:52. Freshman Shanna Yue completed her comeback season with a 25:11 for 48th.
The final runner of the day for the Eagles was Taka Masuda in the boys' JV race. Facing the mob of runners from the large AA and A schools by himself, Taka ran around a 20:34, though the race results were never posted due to timing difficulties.
Though not the final result the Eagles and Coach JP Kaminski had hoped for, their results in the 2008 Sectional were a giant improvement over last year and marked another big step on their progress toward the position of being annual contenders. With a little more recruitment and development, both teams should be battling for titles next year. And in the meantime, three runners get one more chance to add luster to an Eagle season already marked with a number of team championships.