The faces change, but the tradition remains for the Saratoga Springs girls’ cross country team.
And it all starts and ends with coaches Art and Linda Kranick, who keep churning out ace runners every season.
The Blue Streaks, who never seem to have a down year, won their 12th straight Class A girls’ crown at the Section II Cross Country Championships Friday afternoon at Saratoga Spa State Park’s 4,908-meter course.
“This never gets old because the kids are different every year,” said Linda Kranick, who watched six of her proteges finish in the top 10, including juniors Taylor Driscoll and Keelin Hollowood, who were first and second, respectively, to upset favored Lizzie Predmore of Shenendehowa in third.
“We don’t count the number of wins. That’s for the media to do,” Kranick said. “Art is so passionate about running, and that’s what inspires me to keep going. We’ve been a team, and we’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s not hard at all to be motivated every year, because we always have new runners to work with. That’s the joy of it.
“Art and I really have a passion for this sport, and our runners work very hard at it. We are all one big family, including all of our assistant coaches. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been doing this for so long, but every season, we start over.”
Driscoll, who finished second to Predmore at last week’s Suburban Council Championships, said she was well aware of Predmore’s presence on Friday.
“We kind of went back and forth in the lead when we were in the woods. At the end, I was just trying to maintain my speed,” she said. “I knew Lizzie was behind me, but I was just looking at the finish line.”
Although she said she doesn’t feel any pressure, individually, Driscoll also knows all about Saratoga’s tradition in cross country, and she said that all of the Blue Streaks feel responsible to keep everything going.
“We just try to stay positive and keep working hard. The older girls in the program taught us when we first started, and we do the same for our younger girls.”
Saratoga ended up with 22 points, 66 ahead of Shenendehowa.
The winning teams in each division, as well as top individuals, advance to the state meet one week from today at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School.
Eighth-grader Estela Smith finished fourth, eighth-grader Olivia Morrow was seventh, junior Katie Treichel was eighth and eighth-grader Maggi Szpak finished 10th. That means the Blue Streaks’ tradition remains in good hands for the next few years.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake held off Holy Names by 13 points for the Class B title as Alyssa Drapeau (second), Meagan Roecker (sixth), Allison Fernandez (eighth), Jordan Casey (ninth) and Anastasia Monsen (10th) helped neutralize Holy Names’ top three runners, including individual champion Leah Triller (17:37.43).
In Class C, Alicia Clark of Granville took the individual title, but Greenwich won the team championship by taking second (Vicky Houser), third (Madeline Montague), fourth (Sarah Lapham), seventh (Tori Spiezio) and 10th (Jackie Boyce).
“Overall, we did very well,” said Greenwich coach Steve Patrick. “One of the keys was that our No. 5 runner, Jackie Boyce, ran really well and finished 10th. She’s been up and down for us. If she runs that well at the states, we’ll do well. I think it will be a dogfight at states. Our top five runners are pretty strong.”
Berne-Knox-Westerlo won both the team title and the individual title in Class D as the Bulldogs took four of the top 10 spots, including champion Courtney Tedeschi in 18:50.50.
One of the most interesting matchups among the boys’ races was in Class B, where Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake used its depth to hold off upset-minded Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, 42-96.
Buddy Herkenham of Burnt Hills finished first in 15:21.12, but the Golden Knights took three of the next four spots. Fortunately for the Spartans, they placed runners in the seventh and 10th positions to capitalize on Gibbons’ lack of depth.
“I’m proud of our team today,” said Herkenham. “We came in well prepared for this race. We knew Gibbons was out to beat us. Jason [Gibbons’ Jason Lange] went out very fast, and I struggled a little bit, because I really don’t like to have that much speed early on. But I started to feel good as the race went on, and I was very fortunate to finish first.”
Another closely contested race was in Class C, where Fonda-Fultonville, the state’s fifth-ranked small school team, put three runners in the top 10 and cruised to the team title over Schuylerville, 62-107.
Although Greenwich’s Austin Lane breezed to the individual title in 15:38.01 — 23 seconds ahead of Catskill’s Seth Bulich — Matt Hoffman was third and Mike Scott took fourth for the Braves.
“It is more of a team event than an individual event for us,” said Hoffman. “We were close after the first mile, but Austin started to pull away. The key for us was to stay on our own pace. We just had to make sure that we had enough runners finishing in the top spots, even if we didn’t win the race itself. That was important.”
There were no surprises in the Class A race as Shaker, which captured last week’s Suburban Council title, easily won its division over Saratoga Springs, 29-61.
The Blue Bison finished 1-2-3 with Mike Libruk, Jon Vallescorsa and Christian Delago.
Libruk was battling a cold, but didn’t show it on Friday.
“I had some rest, and it helped. I was up for this race,” Lilbruk said. “Our team is finally starting to come together. We didn’t have our top seven runners healthy until just three weeks ago. Now, our goal is to do well at states.”
Berne-Knox-Westerlo swept the top three spots, including champion Derek Struck, to easily beat Berlin for the Class D crown.
Team scores: Shaker 29, Saratoga Springs 61, Bethlehem 67, Guilderland 140, Shenendehowa 142, Colonie 158, Niskayuna 171, Ballston Spa 242, Albany 254, Schenectady 291, Columbia 352.
Individual results: Mike Libruk (Shaker) 15:13.49, Jon Valleccorsa (Shaker) 15:18.95, Christian Delago (Shaker) 15:36.15, Lucas Carpinello (Beth) 15:43.39, Brent Freestone (Saratoga) 15:43.65, Matt Crawford (Beth) 15:44.02, Philo Germano (Albany) 15:45.28, Adam Schwenzfeier (Shaker) 15:49.18, Dan Janeczko (Shen) 15:49.42.
Team scores: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 42, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons 96, Queensbury 101, Broadalbin-Perth 111, Ichabod Crane 165, Averill Park 246, Scotia-Glenville 272, Amsterdam 278, LaSalle 299, Glens Falls 318, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 327, Lansingburgh 333, Gloversville 335, South Glens Falls 351, Mohonasen 365, Albany Academy 377, Cohoes 382, Christian Brothers Academy 393, Schalmont 432, Johnstown 479.
Individual results: Buddy Herkenham (BH) 15:21.12, Jason Lange (ND-BG) 15:23.49, Andrew Tario (AP) 15:40.35, Matt Lange (ND-BG) 15:44.84, Jordan Pantalone (ND-BG) 15:45.71, Evan Little (LSI) 15:47.15, Dan Fernandez (BH) 15:59.87, Justin Ferguson (BP) 16:02.83, John Raibdeau (BH) 16:09.40.
Team scores: Fonda-Fultonville 62, Schuylerville 107, Greenwich 132, Cobleskill-Richmondville 135, Maple Hill 151, Catskill 1156, Voorheesville 171, Corinth 254, Stillwater 268, Mechanicville 286, Chatham 336, Catholic Central 342, Hoosic Valley 346, Hudson 353, Fort Plain/Canajoharie 356, Greenville 362, Taconic Hills 428, Tamarac 440, Granville 451, Coxsackie-Athens 599.
Individual results: Austin Lane (Greenwich) 15:38.01, Seth Bulich (Catskill) 15:55.20, Matt Hoffman (Fonda) 16:00.05, Mike Scott (Fonda) 16:00, 16:00.82, Jeremy Spiezio (Greenwich) 16:02.81, Matt Watson (Schuylerville) 16:14.10, Joe Becker (Voorheessville) 16:18.05, Corey Tate (Catskill) 16:18.28, Tyler Angioli (Fonda) 16:38.87, Steve Curry (Catholic Central) 16:44.40.
Team scores: Berne-Knox-Westerlo 30, Berlin 68, Mayfield 84, Mekeel Christian Academy 92, Lake George 168, North Warren 182, Whitehall 193, Argyle 206, Schoharie 240, Hadley-Luzerne 264, Saratoga Central Catholic 301.
Individual results: Derek Struck (BKW) 15:55.33, Sean Reynolds (BKW) 15:58.62, Connor Devine (BKW) 16:23.29, Jacob Urys (Mekeel) 16:29.74, Tom McClellan (Mayfield) 16:37.76, Dave Krutz (Mayufield) 16:47.59, PJ. Ferguson (Whitehall) 16:49.18, Adam Forti (BKW) 17:03.84, Thomas Oelhaf (Hawthorne Valley) 17:05.72, Alex French (Berlin) 17:14.52.
Team scores: Saratoga Springs 22, Shenendehowa 88, Shaker 109, Guilderland 109, Colonie 121, Bethlehem 125, Niskayuna 144, Columbia 231, Ballston Spa 258, Schenectady 327, Albany 355, Troy 361.
Individual results: Taylor Driscoll (Saratoga) 17:21.99, Keelin Hollowood (Saratoga) 17:29.38, Lizzie Predmore (Shen) 17:31.48, Estela Smith (Saratoga) 17:50.15, Maryanna Lansing (Shaker) 18:00.66, Jenna Robinson (Guilderland) 18:04.80, Olivia Morrow (Saratoga) 18:08.08, Katie Treichel (Saratoga) 18:10.67, Felicia Sciortino (Niskayuna) 18:11.63; Maggi Szpak (Saratoga) 18:14.60.
Team scores: Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 35, Holy Names 43, Queensbury 66, Scotia-Glenville 130, Broadalbin-Perth 156, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons 219, Lansingburgh 275, Schalmont 298, Gloversville 304, Emma Willard 332, Amsterdam 332, Ichabod Crane 340, Mohonasen 347, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 362, Glens Falls 396, South Glens Falls 420, Averill Park 438, Cohoes 458, Albany Academy 461.
Individual results: Leah Triller (Holy Names) 17:37.43, Alyssa Drapeau (BH) 18:09.64, Jolie Navatka (Queensbury) 18:18.54, Catherine Maloy (Holy Names) 18:18.90, Jacquelin Willsey (Holy Names) 18:19.25, Meagan Roecker (BH) 18:27.34, Talya Williams (NDBG) 18:31.76, Allison Fernandez (BH) 18:32.18, Jordan Casey (BH) 18:32.54, Anastasia Monsen (BH) 18:32.93.
Team scores: Greenwich 19, Fonda-Fultonville 60, Mechanicville 118, Maple Hill 162, Coxsackie-Athens 163, Voorheesville 166, Hoosic Valley 178, Catholic Central 190, Cobleskill-Richmondville 207, Catskill 239, Chatham 259, Galway 287, Fort Plain/Canajoharie 351, Corinth 376, Tamarac 394.
Individual results: Alicia Clark (Gran) 17:50.65, Vicky Houser (Greenwich) 18:09.15, Madeline Montague (Greenwich) 18:09.44, Sara Lapham (Greenwich) 18:30.76, Victoria Hathaway (Stillwater) 18:43.92, Kimberly Geniti (Fonda) 18:57.56, Tori Spiezio (Greenwich) 19:06.40, Jamie Kasza (Fonda) 19:15.90, Samantha Phelps (Fonda) 19:16.91, Jackie Boyce (Greenwich) 19:18.34.
Team scores: Berne-Knox-Westerlo 33, North Warren 65, Mayfield 76, Duanesburg 87, Berlin 94, Johnsburg 161.
Individual results: Courtney Tedeschi (BKW) 18:50.50, Megan Erickson (North Warren) 19:22.87, Allie Tedeschi (BKW) 19:55.68, Kiera Warner (North Warren) 20:11.96, Ciara Fisher (Duanesburg) 20:27.30, Lidija Nikollaj (Mayfield) 20:334.60, Sarah Montgomery (Mayfield) 20:37.70, Abby Swint (BKW) 20:45.76, Kayleigh Corrado (Berlin) 20:57.38, Shannon Quay (BKW) 21:25.09.
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Categories: High School Sports