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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 15, 2011

BKW overcomes mud at Guilderland Invitational

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– The excessively wet and muddy conditions at Tawasentha Park on Saturday slowed every runner’s time considerably. Despite the mess, Berne-Knox-Westerlo emerged as a big winner.

All the rain from previous weeks had drowned the original 3.1-mile course, putting the 41st annual Guilderland Invitational in danger of being cancelled. The event went on as scheduled, but the course was totally restructured. Suicide Hill, the course’s main attraction, was shut down.

“Our problem was small potatoes compared to all the other flooding in our area, but it was still disappointing,” said the Guilderland boys’ coach, Matt Wright. “There’s a lot of history here and teams come out for Suicide Hill. It was a tough decision to change the course, but the runners understood.”

Guilderland wanted the course to be as safe as possible, Wright said. “Safety always comes first,” he said. “We’re lucky to be here today. It was a huge effort by everyone.” 

Hundreds of cross-country runners from dozens of schools were covered in mud, and shoes were as good as ruined. The revamped course was heavily saturated, especially in one spot where athletes ran down a hill, only to land in a mud pond. Some runners said they got mud in their mouths.

BKW Junior Courtney Tedeschi, who won the girls’ small-school race for the fourth consecutive year, started with neon green shoes. Crossing the finish line with a time of 20:40, which was 1:07 ahead of second place, those nice shoes were stained brown.

“I couldn’t get any grip,” said Tedeschi, who cheered on her teammates after eclipsing the entire field. “It was weird. The mud is so thick that you just sink and slide. I had to slow it down a little.”

Tedeschi’s younger sister, Allie, came in eighth place with a time of 23:02. She was quiet and reserved, but said that her older sister is “really awesome.”

Frequently writing little notes to her sister in the morning, Courtney Tedeschi said that her younger sibling would be closer to her times some day. “She’ll write down her goals, like secretly wanting to take my legs out,” she said with a laugh. “We’re best friends. You can tell.”

Even though Tedeschi wins plenty of races, she still gets nervous before the gun. She hears people talking about her, but lets it go, turning it into motivation.

“It’s fun to have won four in a row,” Tedeschi said of the Invitational. “But I’m looking forward to a fifth.”

The BKW boys’ team won the small-school title with 58 points, three points ahead of Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, which was ranked number-one in the state for Class C. Broadalbin-Perth was only four points behind.

Seniors Sean Reynolds, Derek Struck, and Connor Devine finished sixth, seventh, and 12th for the Bulldogs. Junior Adam Forti was 14th and sophomore Dominic Woodmansee came in 25th place. Matt Lange finished first and Jordan Pantalone finished second for Gibbons, but the team managed to fall in second place.

“It feels good to win, but I’m happy that no one got hurt,” said BKW Head Coach Bill Tindale. “Everything is positive.”

Tindale is amazed by the amount of discipline his cross-country team has shown in the weeks leading up to the start of the season. BKW didn’t have many workouts or training over the summer.

“You have to be motivated to be a runner,” Tindale said. “People say it’s an individual sport, but it’s really a team thing. You’ll be letting someone down if you don’t show up to run.”

As hosts, Guilderland had an honest day in the large-school division. The girls’ team was third overall with 54 points and the boys totaled 143 points for sixth place. The Flying Dutch had to get used to a brand-new course.

 Sophomore Jenna Robinson, in sixth place, was first to cross the finish line for the Guilderland girls with a time of 21:08. Senior Austin Miller had a time of 18:18 for the boys, which was good enough for 15th place. Anna Pickett was ninth, Taylor Tommell was 11th, and Christina Herkenham came in 12th place. Senior Nico Turek was 17th with a time of 18:22.

“A couple of us went down,” Pickett said of the conditions. “The more people that ran over the ground, the worse it got. We gave it our best and ran smart. You can only do so much…I mean, look at this mess.”

Burnt Hills swept every junior-varsity and varsity race it was in, including the girls’ junior-varsity team, which had a perfect score of 15 points. However, the dominant force on Saturday was the mud, which ate up runners’ times.

“It was pretty bad; ankles rolling,” said Derek Struck, who had just finished wrestling a teammate in the mud. “I’m surprised that more people didn’t get hurt.”

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