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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, October 2, 2008
Local cross-country teams are making opponents run for the hills
By Jordan J. Michael
The Guilderland and Voorheesville boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams are having a busy and successful season this fall. The coaches are predicting further success as the season winds down.
Both Voorheesville and Guilderland participated in the Queensbury Adirondack Cross-Country Classic on Saturday at Queensbury High School. Voorheesville competed in the small varsity division, while Guilderland was in the large varsity division. The race course was five kilometers in length.
The Voorheesville boys’ and girls’ team’s both placed second overall to Broadalbin-Perth, with 55 and 78 points respectively. “Broadalbin really blew everyone away in Queensbury,” said Voorheesville Head Coach Steve Relyea. “They have a solid core of runners, but so do we.”
The Blackbirds had solid runs from Conor Cashin, second place; Nathan Bub, eighth place; Ian Powell, ninth place; and Talyor Treadgold, 12th place. “It’s exciting to have four runners in the top 20,” said Relyea.
The Ladybirds had healthy runs from Michelyn Little, 12th place; Casey Morrison, 13th place; and Zoe Edmunds, 18th place. “And I’m very pleased with the girls as well. Great showing all around,” said Relyea.
“The Queensbury meet is great stuff, it has an excellent course,” said Relyea. “It’s wide and has a good combination of hills and flats. My kids generally love it.”
The Guilderland boys’ team finished in the middle of the 13-team field in sixth place with 191 points. Dan Lee was the Dutchmen’s best finisher in 35th place with a time of 17:48.97.
“This was our fourth or fifth time up there and this was our best performance,” said Guilderland girls’ coach David Kosier. “It was supposed to rain all day, but luckily it didn’t.”
The Lady Dutch team placed fifth overall with 146 points and two runners in the top 20. The seven girls were scattered throughout the 90-person field. Ninth-grader Kelly Camardo finished in ninth place with a time of 19:26.57 and Michelle Fish placed 18th with a time of 20:01.03.
Camardo, a call-up from the junior-varsity team, recorded the second fastest time in Tawasentha Park course history, during a home meet against Shaker and Niskayuna last week. Her time was 16:28, eight seconds off the all-time record.
“What an amazing run that was from the rookie,” said Kosier. “We have been plagued with injuries this year and she got a shot to run on the varsity team. Her legs have given her a full-time spot on this team.”
Some of the Guilderland girls’ top runners have been out with injuries. Bridget Daley pulled a hamstring last week; Erin Mossop has been having back spasms; and Jen Madsen rolled her ankle in the beginning of the season.
“We have had the injury bug for sure,” Kosier said. “Madsen rolled her ankle pretty badly, but she’s starting to run again and looks ok. We’ll pick up the pace once everyone is back.”
Queensbury dominated its own meet on both the boys’ and girls’ side of the track. The boys had 44 points and the girls had 38 points. The Queensbury girls’ team is currently ranked 20th in the nation.
“The sport of cross-country is rated by a points system, but not your normal points system,” said Relyea. “The team with the least point total wins. Usually in sports, the team with the most points wins, but not here.”
For example, a runner receives three points for a third-place finish and 57 points for a 57th-place finish. At the end of the race, a team’s seven runners add all the points together for a final team score.
Guilderland had its 38th Annual International Cross Country Invitational on Sept. 13 at the town’s scenic Tawasentha Park. The event played host to 26 teams from New York and a team from Thousand Island, Ontario, Canada.
“This event is the biggest fund-raiser for the team,” said Peter Cure, who co-chaired the meet with his wife, Linda. “The local businesses around the area are very generous.”
Bill Drake started the event back in the 1970s and its popularity is still thriving. Kosier said there was an “interesting scenario” for this year’s meet.
“Shaker and Voorheesville both had big cross-country events on the same day, so we thought it would hurt the attendance,” he said. “But, plenty of people came out for support and the weather was fantastic.”
There were 750 runners competing in the invitational and special guests Thousand Islands came down the day before to stay with Guilderland cross-country families.
“We housed the Canadians overnight and got to learn about their culture,” said Cure. “Their school system is a little different and the kids are always polite. It’s interesting to see our runners interact with them.”
The Burnt Hills girls’ team was ranked second in the nation at the time of the meet and received the “Most Outstanding Program Award.” Guilderland wasn’t far behind, with the boys finishing fourth and the girls finishing second.
“It’s really unbelievable how good Section II girls is nationally,” said Kosier. “Burnt Hills is ridiculous, Saratoga is fifth nationally, Shenendehowa is 10th nationally, and Queensbury is 20th. It makes us look really good because we are right behind these amazing teams. States might not be a reality, but we’ll give it a shot.”
The Dutchmen boys placed fourth in the large varsity division with 119 points. The team’s best finisher was Chris Cure, with a time of 15:24.01 on the 2.7-mile trail.
The Guilderland girls’ team came in second place overall with a score of 94 points. Daley finished the race in third place with a time of 17:50.30. “I’m proud of everyone and their performance on that day,” said Kosier. “Beating Burnt Hills isn’t expected, but doing well on your home terrain is important.”
The Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys’ and girls’ teams both ended the event in third place overall in the small varsity division, with 71 and 90 points respectively. The top runner for the boys was Jeff Moller with a sixth place effort and a time of 15:44.84. Courtney Tedeschi took first place in the race for the girls with a time of 17:41.33.
“All the coaches want to thank the parents and volunteers because this wouldn’t happen without them,” said Kosier.
The Voorheesville boys are 6-0 and the girls are 5-1. Relyea has 12 female runners and 17 male runners. “We have younger legs coming up and making a difference,” he said.
Relyea says that Little and Cashin are his top racers on varsity. “Everyone runs hard, but they seem to stand out a little more.”
The Blackbirds and Ladybirds are taking a weekend off before their big meets at Ravena, Burnt Hills, and Berne-Knox-Westerlo. “The remainder of the season looks pretty tough, but I expect this varsity group to succeed,” said Relyea.
The Guilderland girls’ team was third in sectionals under Kosier in 2007 and would like to be there again this year. “Only one team from Section II can reach States, but these nationally ranked team’s are extremely hard to defeat,” he said.
Kosier hopes to gain a bid to the New York State Federation Meet, taking place after state finals, where his team finished 15th last year. “It is a 27-team field and nine teams from States get automatic bids,” he said.
A committee selects the remaining 18 teams after an intense review. “We got a bid last year because we had a real strong finish last year,” said Kosier. “We’re in the same boat this season with all my returning runners.”
Kosier mentioned that all sports “go in cycles” and that means every team has a chance at glory. “The boys had an amazing cross-country program a couple years ago when the girls were building up,” he said. “Now the greatness has shifted to us.”