Eagles Finish Season in Mud with Sarah King in 9th, Brendan Wortner in 21st, and Patrick Wortner in 22nd Place
In a season whose second half was comprised of Saturday meets run in the muck, it figured that the NY State Championship at Plattsburgh on November 14 would also see nothing but rain and slippery footing. Section 1 enjoyed a pretty good day as they won 1 team championship, 1 sectional championship and 3 exciting individual championships. The Eagles' day had its ups and downs for their three runners, but they broke into the top 10 for the first time in at least three decades and again were part of a winning sectional champion.
The day for the Eagles started out in the Boys C race, the last of the guys' races run in the late morning. The evidence of what the steady rain was doing to the very flat Plattsburgh course had already become clear. That Section 3's Holland-Patent would likely win the race was pretty clear, but how Section 1's champ Pawling and its lead runner Brandon Freyer would do was less sure. From the start, Freyer showed that he was intent on going after reigning champ and heavily favored Max Straneva of Chenango Valley. Section 1 sectional champ Julian Saliani of Irvington also pushed himself among the top 5 early on. The Eagles Patrick and Brendan Wortner joined Bronxville's Dayton Flannery in a small pack about 15 places back.
The runners jockeyed back and forth, with Straneva, Freyer, and Holland Patent's Dylan Racha fighting at the front. When Straneva made his breakaway move with about a mile to go, only Freyer could go with him. Straneva carried his lead into the final 300 yards stretch around the Plattsburgh track and football field, but Freyer sprinted past him near the end and held off a late surge to win by .3 seconds in the second fastest winner's time of the day of 15:30.9, which was 4th overall. Saliani followed in 4th in a time of 15:54.5, moving up three places from last year. Flannery outkicked Brendan Wortner to the finish with Pat Wortner a little behind as the trio took 20th, 21st, and 22nd in times of 16:40.1, 16:40.5, and 16:41.3. Holland-Patent won the championship by 40-91 over Pawling, and Section 3 beat out Section 1 by 182-323, but the finishes by the Tigers and Section 1-C were the best in recent times.
The other boys races also saw some great action and nice results for Section 1. In Class AA, Nick Hughes of North Rockland took advantage of a slip and fall by the race's leader near the finish to win the race with the best time of the day at 15:26.3. His team was favored but finished a fairly close 2nd to Fayetteville-Manlius, and the Section 1 team also finished 2nd. In Class A, Yorktown's Manu Kumar finished 4th and Horace Greeley's Kyle Eager about a second behind in 5th as the Brewster team took 4th and the Section 1 team took another 2nd. In Class B, Rye's Max Robinson ran strong for 4th and Byram Hills did well to take 3rd while the Section 1 team took 6th.
The girls races were run in the afternoon, and the Class C race had the honor of running last in the worst of the muck. Beforehand a number of races featured truly awe-inspiring achievements. The Class AA race was dominated completely by a Fayetteville-Manlius squad that scored a perfect 15 as Courtney Chapman, Molly Malone, Jillian Fanning, MacKenzie Carter and Katie Sischo wrote their names in the record books. Arlington finished 4th and Section 1 5th. The Class A race included the best individual performance as Cornwall's Aisling Cuffe nearly dived into the 16:00's with a 17:00.1 time that cemented her ranking as at least one of the top 3 girls HS runner in the nation. Queensbury won the team championship, but Tappen Zee edged out Cuffe's Cornwall team by 2 points for 3rd and the Section 1 team also took 3rd. In the Class B race, Section 1 got to cheer in another winner as freshman Megan Young of Nanuet edged Geneva's Christine Driscoll for the win in 17:56.6, the best time for the section on the day. East Aurora rolled to another team championship as Section 1's Pearl River finished 4th, but behind a strong showing by area runners such as Pelham's Nicki Nesi in 5th and Kennedy Catholic's Jessica Kendzor in 10th, Section 1 finished 3rd and only 43 points behind the winner Section 5.
Section 1's hopes for a team and sectional title focused on the final race, girls' Class C, where both championships have come with great frequency. The hopes also seemed to be centered on one key runner, senior Henrietta Miers of Bronxville, who was just returning to action after 5 days in bed recovering from the swine flu, an illness that had forced her to miss the Section 1 Championship race. Miers' availability for the State meet gave both the young Bronco team and the Section 1 team the boost it needed for a predicted close matchup with Tully and Section 3, though in the customary sloppy conditions, the 12 local runners were so at home they ran away from the other teams.
Section 1 Championship winner Caitlin Jelinek of Pawling and the Broncos' Miers pushed the early pace, and the area's runners followed along. Allison Lasnicki of Canastota dominated the field with an unchallenged 18:24.9 time, but Section 1's light blue shirts controlled the race. Bronxville's Meredith Rizzo moved through the front pack as Jelinek and Miers fell back, and she would finish as the top local runner in 4th in 18:51.9. The Eagles' Sarah King would move up with Pleasantville's Libby Lazare from around the 44th place at the 1/4 mile mark to form a pack with Miers and Jelinek in the 8th-11th spots. At the finish, Miers would sprint in 8th in 19:23.6, King took 9th in 19:24.8 and a personal best 112 Tully Rating score, and Lazare would give Section 1 four runners in the top 10 with a 19:25.6. With Jelinek taking 13th, Bronxville's Amelia Phillips getting 14th, Pawling's Zoe Nagasing taking 15th, and Irvington's Annie Field capturing 20th, Section 1 was well on its way to a best ever performance in a 160-202 victory over 2nd place Section 3.
The results of the team championship were a little later in coming, and Section 1 fans are by now used to the Bronco "woe is us" routine where during the waiting period Bronxville's nervous faithful predict all sorts of dire scenarios when everyone else can see that they have copped another crown. This year with a top 5 featuring a senior, two freshmen, and two 8th graders, they bettered the prerace predictions and easily ran away from 2nd place Tully by a 41-65 score to earn their fourth Class C title in six years. 8th graders Emilie Hoffer in 28th and Courtney Campbell in 39th stepped up with strong races to ensure the team's championship.
Next year Section 1 will be hosting the State Championship, at Pawling, which will eliminate the need for a 5 hour drive to the meet. Some of the memorable faces from the Plattsburgh meet such as Hughes, Freyer, and Lasnicki will be gone to graduation, but others such as Cuffe and Young will be back to hopefully add still more exciting moments to the NY State Championship history.
Some videos available at: dobbsferryxcfeats.blogspot.com