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XC 2011 Season Wrapup

Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2011 by Perry King
Eagles Complete XC Season with Two 3rd Place Finishes at Sectionals and Some Post Season Glory

By late December, XC season is long gone, but it's never too late to sum up the final action following the Coaches meet way back in late October. The season ending included a couple of record achievements and a day of mud for two of the Eagles and their supporters at States.

The team was looking forward to a great morning up at Croton Point for the Westchester County meet a few days before Halloween, but nobody foresaw the snowy blanket that would cover the region that weekend. After a postponement, the meet was finally cancelled as there was no good time to run it so close before Sectionals, and certain coaches up Somers way were without power for a few eons stretching well into November. The County results would eventually be created from the runners' times in the Sectional races. The results would place three Eagles officially on the All-County team, as Brendan Wortner was credited with 2nd behind Rye's Taylor Love,  and Grant Sheely got 23rd on the boys' side; and Sarah King was 4th behind Bornxville's Mary Cain and Meredith Rizzo and Rye Neck's Natalie Tanner on the girls side. Shanna Yue was within the usual top 33 times for varsity runners, but in an unusual move the County selection committee included many JV runners that would not normally be eligible.

The Sectional championship moved back to Bowdoin Park for 2011, and the previous weekend's snow was mainly gone by Friday, November 4 on the day of the meet. The whole Eagles team attended because JV races were held in 2011 to resolve some issues caused by the Westchester County meet's cancellation. The girls varsity ran first, and Sarah King coasted to her fourth straight States berth with a 4th place finish in 19:49.52, as Bronxville's Mary Cain collected her second straight title. Shanna Yue gave a big effort but came in one place short of States with a 13th place finish in 21:35.64. Rookie Annabelle Sheely capped off a great first season with an Eagles' 7th grade record 22:18.79 for 19th (also betters 8th grade mark), followed by Josephine Weidner in 26th at 22:53.07, Nell Klassen in 32nd at 23:25.74, Karen Maehara in 35th at 23:33.32, and Rebecca Wiersma in 55th at 26:06.55. As expected the Eagles finished 3rd behind Bronxville and Pawling with 88 points, just 16 behind the Panthers.

The JV girls would run at the end of the day, and they would take 11th with Chloe Wang the first Eagle in at 24:31.85 in 78th, Mary Constant in 89th at 25:05.18, Madeline Schwartz in 95th at 25:17.73, Lindsey Yue in 97th at 25:20.80, Clara Winder in 98th at 25:25.14, Sofia Checa in 104th at 25:42.60, Tara O'Brien in 119th at 26:28.97, Cara Horsfield in 130th at 27:13. 08, and Sofia Maluf toughed it home in 145th at 28:12.65.

Brendan Wortner was going for his second straight S1-C Sectional title, and an expected challenge from Bronxville's Dayton Flannery never happened because of an injury to the Bronco that would leave him out of States. B-Wort breezed to a 9-second win over Westlake's Tom Higgins to collect the championship honor with a 16:42.64 time. Freshman Grant Sheely not only had a big race while finishing 12th with a 17:54.12, but he also played a huge role in determining the team champion as he held off Bronxville's desperate fourth runner at the finish to allow Pawling to escape with the title by a 70-71 score. The rest of the Eagles ran well to earn a solid 3rd place with 109 points as Connor Culhane took 29th with an 18:58.64, Bryan Martin was a place behind in 30th at 19:00.82, Gabe Natale was 37th in 19:12.67, Thomas Newman was 48th in 19:40.94, and Yusf Kapadia was 67th in 20:23.57.

The guys JV finished off their season in a mass uprising with 11 Eagles battling it out to finish 13th. Takanori Okkotsu ended a promising first year with a 51st in 19:21.10, followed by Matt Latainer in 68th at 19:38.12, Terry Taylor in 137th in 20:27.34, Keith Hickey in 162nd in 20:46.71, Calvin Sheely in 180th was the first 7th grader (though listed as an 8th grader) in at 20:56.74 to just miss big bro' Grant's Eagle grade record by 5 seconds, Joey Staluppi in 186th at 21:00.45, Gary Lu in 21:23.71 for 207th, Nick Kost in 231st at 21:38.56, Kenny Marshall was 255th at 21:57.48, Ben Sterne was 291st at 22:29.32, and George Agyros was 309th at 22;53.21.

King and Wortner moved on to States up at Vernon-Verona-Sherril HS in Section 3 on Saturday, November 12. A cheering section of Connor, Shanna, and Karen snuck out of Dobbs very early on Saturday to arrive in time to make mayhem. Though the day's weather was excellent, rains from previous days had turned the course into a muddy mess even before the meet, and it only got worse and worse as a thousand runners churned through it starting with the boys. Brendan's boys C race went off third in conditions that made the runners seek small amounts of less chewed up ground to stay moving. B-Wort challenged for the lead at about a mile into the race, but the mud eventually took its toll on him as he fell back a bit to take 6th in 17:25.0 with his second States medal to lead the S1-C guys group that won the State Section C title, though Pawling finished 2 points behind Holland-Patent for the team title.

On the girls side, by the time King's race kicked off the mud was flowing in rivers, and some of the top runners in the state had already broken down under the strain. The muck very likely helped Bronxville overcome a thin Greenwich team to win the Broncos' 4th straight Class C title and 10th championship overall, with Mary Cain again taking the top spot. King meanwhile ran smartly along the edges as the only top C Class runner to improve on her season's TR as she took her third States medal with a 20:53.3 for 11th. The S1-C girls like the boys won the Section championship.

The season continued for Wortner and King at the following week's Federation Championship meet as both were selected by the State committee to run at Bowdoin Park again on Saturday, November 19. In races that feature a mass crush of around 270 runners, King ran first and posted a 19:47.4 for 58th to set a personal and school best mark at Bowdoin. Nothing to say about Wortner's run except that he absolutely crushed everything in recording a 16:12.9 time and 186 TR for 9th place as the second Section 1 runner behind Arlington's Eddie Merenda. No Eagle had run at Feds before Wortner and King last year, and B-Wort's top 10 finish was a new step in Eagle history.

The Eagles season finally ended on Saturday November 26 as five team members travelled back to Bowdoin Park one more time to run at the regional qualifier meet for New York Nike Cross Country Nationals. Wortner entered the NXR-NY Championship race with a solid chance for a Nationals berth based on his Feds time, but putting together back-to-back big leaps in performance is very difficult. In a tough field, Wortner posted a 16:32.9 for 16th to add one more medal to his haul for the year.

On the girls side, four Eagles decided to run in the Open race that included runners from the entire Northeast and New York area who were not competing in either the NY or NE Championship races. King led the race for about half the distance before taking 2nd in a time of 19:57.3. Shanna Yue finished in 56th with a time of 21:56.3, Karen Maehara was 164th in 25.27.8, and Rebecca Wiersma was 168th in 25:42.6

And that's all folks. Until next year.

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