The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake boys’ cross country team is taking its act to the national level.
The Spartans, running as Deluge XC, will represent Section II and New York Saturday at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon, after a runner-up showing in the race qualifier.
That took place last Saturday when Deluge scored 78 points to finish second behind Manlius XC (28) at the Nike Cross New York Regional at Bowdoin State Park in Wappingers Falls. Deluge placed third at the 2017 regional, which Manlius XC also won, and did not receive an at-large bid to the national race.
“This has been the goal since the beginning of the season,” said Burnt Hill senior Aidan Gillooley, who placed 15th overall at the regional race and eighth among the runners who scored team points. “Last year we came in third and it was a tough race for everyone. [Last Saturday] everything went smoothly. Everyone did their job.”
Senior Tyler Berg placed seventh overall for Deluge and was fifth among the runners who scored team points. Aside from Gillooley, Deluge also got points from senior Evan Brennan (19 overall, 11 team), 12th-grader Nick Hunziker (42, 24) and junior Kevin Board (52, 30). Juniors David Metacarpa (66, 41) and Dante Ubriaco (135, 102) rounded out the team.
“There was a lot of disappointment [last year],” Burnt Hills coach Chip Button said. “All of this is based on the guys’ motivation. They wanted to get to Portland. They used indoor track and outdoor track to get better. They ran against good competition this fall. It all paid off for them.”
Deluge competed at the 2009 Nike Cross Nationals at Portland Meadows horse racing facility and placed 19th with what Button described as a “young team.”. This year’s national event will take place at Glendoveer Golf Course.
“It’s hard to judge teams from different parts of the country. Manlius is definitely better than us, and they could be the best team in the country. They don’t seem to have any weaknesses at all,” Button said. “On our best day, I think we can be a top-10 team. We have to have our top five do better than Saturday.”
Burnt Hills has had a lot of good Saturdays this season, one of them earlier this month resulting in a third straight New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class B team title.
“Getting a top-10 would be something to be really proud of. To be right there with the top teams in the country, that would be amazing,” Gillooley said. “For the seniors, it’s going to be our last race. We are going to give it our all.”
Shea Weilbaker of Saratoga Springs/Racing City Running Club placed second in the regional boys’ championship race and also earned an invite to the Nike Cross Nationals. Weilbaker ran a 15:51.6 while race winner Parker Stokes of Maine-Endwell clocked a 15:51.0.
Weilbaker’s Racing City team placed sixth, Guilderland Running Club was 10th, Bison Track Club (Shaker) was 24th, Eagles (Bethlehem) was 25th and Devils Track Club (Columbia) was 26th.
The Saratoga Springs girls, competing as Kinetic Running Club, won the regional girls’ championship race team title with 63 points, edging Manlius XC (65), and earned a return trip to the national event. Kinetic was third at the 2017 New York regionals, and 14th at the nationals, where Kelsey Chmiel took second behind North Rockland standout Katelyn Tuohy.
Chmiel led Kinetic this past Saturday with a third overall and in the team scoring. Kinetic also got points from Ella Kurto (11 overall, 6 team), McKinley Wheeler (24, 14), Emily Bush (25, 15) and Sheridan Wheeler (37, 25).
In the girls’ championship race team results Legacy Track Club (Shenendehowa) placed fifth, Niskayuna XC was eighth, and Eagles (Bethlehem) was 16th.
In the girls’ open race, Mohonasen XC placed second, Deluge was sixth, Guilderland Racing Club was ninth and TartanStrong Athletics (Scotia-Glenville) was 10th. Kate Sherman of Mohonasen finished third.
In the boys’ open race, TartanStrong Athletics was third, Deluge was fifth, Guilderland Running Club was eighth and Deluge “B” was 18th. Ryan Allison of Deluge ran second, and Gabe Winters-Bona of TartanStrong Athletics took third.