BROADALBIN — Trevor Dzikowicz is used to being faster than most of his competition and running at the head of a pack, but running an entire cross country race solo is a different experience for the Amsterdam senior standout.
“It’s really tough, mentally,” Dzikowicz said, “not knowing if I have enough to push this by myself, or if I’m going to die out a lot faster than if I was running with a group. That makes it a bit of a challenge.”
Dzikowicz, who in 2019 became Amsterdam’s first male runner in nearly two decades to qualify for the state cross country championships, cruised through 3.1 miles in 18 minutes, 44.9 seconds on Wednesday at Broadalbin-Perth High School, winning the boys’ race by 35 seconds and leading the Rams to a tight 26-29 Foothills Council win over Broadalbin-Perth.
Not that Dzikowicz, his teammates or either coaching staff had any exact idea of the individual or team results until everything was tallied up a good 20 minutes after the final runner came through the finishing chute.
Runners started a minute apart, with Broadalbin-Perth going first — boys, then girls — before Dzikowicz started Amsterdam’s line of runners 10 minutes after the final Broadalbin-Perth girl took off.
Broadalbin-Perth won the girls’ portion of the meet, 17-44, sweeping the top three places.
“Normally, you can score a cross country meet pretty fast as it’s happening,” Amsterdam boys’ coach Kevin Wilary said. “Now, you have to go back and look at all the times and figure everything out, because it’s really hard to keep track of everything as it’s going, because they’re all a minute apart.”
Behind Dzikowicz, Broadalbin-Perth had the next two finishers in the boys’ race with Conner Couperus and Danny Dylong. Amsterdam’s Jacob Gomez and Joseph Santiago took fourth and fifth, respectively, but it was the performance of the final two runners in the Rams’ scoring five that made the difference.
Vincenzo Billington took seventh, passing the runner who started a minute ahead of him in the process, and Brady Naish was ninth to help Amsterdam scratch out the win.
“The No. 4 and No. 5 guys are the guys that did it for us,” Wilary said, “because I saw a really good race from them. Our one through three [runners] did exactly what they were supposed to.
“Racing against yourself, it’s not the easiest thing to do. They’re getting used to it and they’re getting better at it.”
The Broadalbin-Perth girls took a decisive victory as Alex Brown, Emma Frasier and Haley Tomlinson took the top three spots at the finish.
Brown, a soccer player who switched over to cross country with her usual fall sport pushed to a March start, was the third Patriots runner to start, but ended up with the best time of 23:56.8.
“She’s definitely one of those people that’s slowly learning how to race. We’re seeing vast improvements,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Jeff Richards said. “She ran phenomenal today. I was really proud of her.”
Richards has long been a proponent of his runners racing in tight packs, something that’s been rendered impossible in this socially distant season.
“It’s nice when you have somebody to remind you that you can do it,” Richards said. “Now, instead of having a teammate to do it, they have to remind themselves. Once they get that, they’re young, I think they’ll be alright.”
Senior Brook Marshall was the top finisher for the Amsterdam girls, taking fourth in 24:51.2.
“It’s not too difficult,” Marshall said of racing solo. “I actually kind of like running on my own. But, I do miss the competition.”
AMSTERDAM 26, BROADALBIN-PERTH 29
At Broadalbin-Perth HS (3.1 miles) — Dzikowicz (A), 18:44.9; Couperus (B-P), 19:19.3; Dylong (B-P), 20:04.1; Gomez (A), 20:24.7; Santiago (A), 21:47.6.
BROADALBIN-PERTH 17, AMSTERDAM 44
At Broadalbin-Perth HS (3.1 miles) — Brown (B-P), 23:56.8; Frasier (B-P), 24:21.3; Tomlinson (B-P), 24:40.8; Marshall (A), 24:51.2; Phillips (B-P), 25:48.0.
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected] or @Adam_Shinder on Twitter.