Saratoga cross country back on top

Blue Streaks win Class A title; Chmiel second
The Saratoga Springs girls’ cross country team poses for a picture after winning the Class A state title.
The Saratoga Springs girls’ cross country team poses for a picture after winning the Class A state title.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

KINGS PARK — Saratoga Springs girls’ cross country is back on top after edging Fayetteville-Manlius by one point at the state championship meet Saturday at Sunken Meadow State Park.

Saratoga prevailed in the Class A race 46-47, the same score of its last New York State Public High School Athletic Association title run back in 2005 when it clipped Hilton behind Hannah Davidson and Lindsey Ferguson. Saturday’s leaders were senior Kelsey Chmiel and freshman Ella Kurto, who placed second and sixth, respectively, among 106 athletes.

“We don’t talk about winning and losing,” Saratoga co-coach Linda Kranick said after the Blue Streaks claimed their 15th New York crown. “We talk about doing their best, and they pulled it out. It’s been a while.”

Fayetteville-Manlius had won the last 12 large-school (Class A and AA) championships. Saratoga had placed first six years in a row before Fayetteville-Manlius put together its decade-plus string of success.

“The girls were very excited,” Kranick said. “This is really nice. It’s special for the kids.”

Junior standout Katelyn Tuohy of North Rockland defended her individual title by covering the 5-kilometer course in 17:02.1. Chmiel, who committed to North Carolina State University earlier in the week, clocked a 17:20.6 to placed second for the second year in a row. Chmiel was the state champ as a sophomore in 2016.

“Kelsey had a great run, and the younger kids stepped it up and did a great job,” Kranick said.

Kurto was sixth overall and fourth in the team scoring (18:35.3), and was followed by Saratoga’s cast of seventh-grader Emily Bush (21, 9, 19:26.1), eighth-grader McKinley Wheeler (34, 15, 19:50.4), senior Ciara Knott (35, 16, 19:50.9), eighth grader Skyler Knott (42, 18, 20:08.7) and senior Megan Morin (66, 33, 20:44.7).

“We’re happy and looking forward to the future,” Kranick said. “We’ve got the Federation, regionals and nationals ahead.”

Section II was also represented by Faith DeMars of Ballston Spa (11, 19:04.1), Kaleigh Higgins of Shaker (26, 19:36.9), Leonni Griffin of Shaker (29, 19:39.5), Jada Dennis of Shenendehowa (38, 19:56.7) and Liyat Kebbede of Niskayuna (45, 20:16.6).

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake took fourth in the Class B race with 97 points, and Kate Sherman of Mohonasen was Section II’s top runner, placing 16th (19:41.4). Burnt Hills was led by Rory Graham (19 overall, 7 team scoring, 19:48.0), Emily Berg (20, 8, 19:52.2), Jamisen Vendetti (31, 14, 20:18.8), Madison Whited (67, 32, 21:19.0), Madison Smith (75, 36, 21:40.3), Hannah Lewis (85, 43, 22:10.4) and Billie McCloskey, (95, 53, 22:42.6).

Logan Barsalow of Averill Park (41, 20:29.8), Mya June of Schalmont (43, 20:30.8), Christa Bailey of Mohonasen (73, 21:38.4) and Katie Culliton of Glens Falls (74, 21:40.1) also ran for Section II.

Greenwich won the Class C team title with 38 points behind Brynne Wright (3, 2, 19:12.7), Nina Sgambelluri (7, 5, 19:51.5), Teagan Wright (9, 7, 19:58.9), Emma Cronin (10, 8, 20:00.1), Brooke Wright (31, 16, 20:53.1), Emily Skiff (43, 23, 21:15.6) and Quinn Collins (47, 25, 21:21.3. Greenwich won Class D titles in 2015 and 2016.

Sunni LaBounty of Schuylerville (15, 20:20.0), Tess Fitzmaurice of Greenville (49, 21:22.9), Megan Vianese of Schuylerville (52, 21:28.4), Gabrielle Larsen of Broadalbin-Perth (74, 21:59.4) and Sarah Smith of Johnstown (77, 22:04.5) also represented Section II.

Madison Relyea of Mayfield placed fifth (19:33.9) in the Class D race, and Duanesburg was fifth with 103 points after runs by Elaine Stanasova (14, 5, 20:24.8), Jennifer Skeeter (27, 12, 21:22.1), Hanna Avery (53, 25, 22:50.1), Alice Cole (54, 26, 22:51.3), Jessica Archambeault (67, 35, 23:59.1), Alana Mitchell (81, 45, 25:23.3) and Haily Lawrence (93, 53, 28:32.7.

Lily Czub of Hoosic Valley (17, 20:38.6), Michelle Puzulis of Berne-Knox-Westerlo (24, 21:07.3), Elizabeth Radyn of Lake George (28, 21:@4.4) and Angelina Pusateri of Maple Hill (31, 21:34.8) also represented Section II.


Tyler Berg of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Shea Weilbaker of Saratoga notched individual wins, and Berg led the Spartans to a third consecutive Class B team championship.

Berg ran a 15:52.4 to beat out Parker Stokes of Maine-Endwell (15:57.0), and became Burnt Hills’ third top finisher and first since Otis Ubriaco in 2009. Ken Little prevailed in 2004. Berg was fourth in 2017 and Stokes was second.

“A year ago with about 600 to 800 [meters] to go Tyler and Aidan [Gillooley] were right there, and the Stokes kid took off,” Burnt Hills coach Cip Buton said. “Tyler took it out and built and lead and held it. It says a lot about his [Berg’s] determination.”

Burnt Hills scored 22 points after totaling 25 a year ago, with Gillooley (4, 2, 16:12.5), Evan Brennan (9, 3, 16:33.7), Nick Hunziker (12, 5, 16:50.0), Kevin Board (24, 11, 17:06.6), Dante Ubriaco (63, 31, 17:52.5) and David Metacarpa (65, 33, 17:53.1) also competing for the Spartans.

“This was our third time here and every time we’ve run well,” Button said. “We felt confident we could do it and the guys were really prepared, but still, you see the course and you see the hills.”

Burnt Hills secured its eighth team title in program history. Pearl River (96) and Cornwall (97) were a distant second and third in Saturday’s team results.

“When it comes time to race, they’ve been ready,” Button said. “I don’t have to do a lot to get them motivated.”

Antonio Beltran of Schalmont (17, 16:59.5), Gabe Winters-Bona of Scotia-Glenville (28, 17:15.6), Nathan Belcastro of Mohonasen (53, 17:44.0), Nick Graziano of Albany Academy (62, 17:51.7) and Francisco Beltran of Schalmont (66, 17:54.0) also ran for Section II.

Weilbaker clocked a 15:52.0 in becoming Saratoga’s first state champ since Dylan Welsh in 1998, while Blue Streak Ezra Ruggles (19, 16:35.1), Marty Dolan of Niskayuna (20, 16:36.1), Matt Cavaliere of Bethlehem (23, 16:39.0) and Nick Logan of Queensbury (33, 16:55.6) also represented Section II.

“Both of the boys broke 16 and they were within fourth-tenths of a second from each other,” Button said of Weilbaker and Berg. “They both deserve an awful lot of credit. They ran great races.”

Shenendehowa placed fourth in the Class A team scoring with 108 points behind Alex Hislop (28, 13, 16:50.9), Max Hoffman (45, 21, 17:06.7), Gregory Langone (48, 23, 17:08.1), Jakob Quail (51, 24, 17:17.2), Nathan Brimhall (56, 27, 17:20.8), Bryan Spence (67, 30, 17:35.8) and Ryan Shanahan (71, 32, 17:38.5).

Ryan Ensslin of Voorheesville was 10th (16:59.4) in the Class C race to lead Section II’s independents which included Henry Goca of Rensselaer (16, 17:20.7), Sebastian Mills of Johnstown (25, 17:38.4), Peyton Howard of Greenwich (29, 17:45.6) and Joe Yusaitis of Stillwater (46, 18:01.7). La Salle was seventh among the teams, scoring 171 points with Gitch Hayes (33, 15, 17:49.6), Joe Marchese (51, 25, 18:08.9), Ronan Coughlin (72, 34, 18:45.1), Gabe Lucarelli (88, 45, 19:17.0), Gianni Gabriel (99, 52, 19:39.2), Andrew Martin (120, 69, 20:24.7) and Aidan Ciancio (121, 70, 20:26.1).

Brandon Olden of North Warren (7, 17:18.0) led the Section II Class D individual group followed by Andrew Drescher of Duanesburg (40, 18:41.5), Griffin Day of Saratoga Central Catholic (45, 18:50.0), Erik Schreiner of Hadley-Luzerne (54, 19:09.4) and Holden Decker of Galway (67, 19:29.5). Maple Hill was eighth in the team scoring with 174 points and led by Noah Albanese (24, 13, 18:06.0).

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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