Though thankful to have a season, last year wasn’t much fun for cross country runners.
They had to start races at set intervals from other runners and never had the chance to share a course with anyone that wasn’t on their team.
Things have taken a turn for the better this season as runners are able to share the course once again. In addition, the Foothills Council has adopted a double-dual format that features four teams at one site running two separate meets simultaneously.
The South Division kicked off its dual-meet schedule Wednesday as Broadalbin-Perth hosted Scotia-Glenville, Amsterdam and Gloversville.
“We’re racing again,” Scotia-Glenville coach Jim Krogh said. “We’re not starting out one minute apart this year and it’s just better.”
The Tartans faced Broadalbin-Perth, sweeping both the boys and girls meets, while Amsterdam swept Gloversville, which didn’t field a complete boys or girls team.
“Just the atmosphere was so much better,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Jeff Richards said. “It’s just more fun and the kids all ran a lot better. They all enjoyed it more as well.”
Scotia-Glenville turned in a strong effort in both the boys and girls meet.The Tartans topped the host Patriots in the boys meet by a 19-42 margin and the Scotia-Glenville girls won by an 18-37 margin over B-P.
“I’m extremely happy with how we ran today,” Krogh said. “It was a great start to the dual meet season.”
Amsterdam also started strong against a short-handed Gloversville team that had no girls in competition and just one boy.
“It was exciting for the kids,” Amsterdam boys coach Kevin Wilary said. “It’s really hard when you’re not competing with the other teams on the course head-to head. It was fortunate that we had a season at all last fall, but it definitely wasn’t as much fun.”
Though she had the opportunity to compete against other runners, Scotia-Glenville’s Stephanie James wasn’t near anyone for long, jumping out to a big early lead and cruising to a victory. James finished the 3.1-mile course in 21:06.83, well in front of teammate Erin Smith, who placed second with a time of 22:44.46.
“I love the new style of doing meets. It just feels more competitive,” James said. “This was a lot of fun and it was really good weather. It feels a lot more normal than last year did for sure.”
The Tartans swept the top three spots as Karaline McCarthy was third with a time of 23:28.96. Broadalbin-Perth’s Emma Frasier (23:32.47) was fourth and Scotia-Glenville’s Sophia Allen (24:05.05) was fifth.
“I’m hoping we can make states as a team. My goal is to place in the top five at sectionals and go to states,” James said. “We have a very good group this year.”
The Amsterdam girls were paced by Gianna Crespo-Julia who placed first in the Rams’ dual meet with Gloversville and eighth overall with a time of 25:07.43. Briana Kelly placed 10th overall for Amsterdam with a time of 25:34.45.
“We ran pretty well today. We had a good preseason,” Wilary said. “I’m happy for the kids to have something that’s getting back to normal.”
In the boys meet, Scotia-Glenville’s Patrick Allen posted the top time on the 3.1-mile course with a time of 18:27.85.
“It makes it feel more competitive,” Allen said. “It’s more fun and even though you know you’re not scoring against all of the other teams, you still try to beat them all.”
Broadalbin-Perth’s Connor Couperus (18:35.50) was second. The Tartans swept of the rest of the top-five spots with John Bednarek (20:24.17) in third, Ryan Freihofer (20:24.17) in fourth and Liam Cowdrey (20:29.31) in fifth.
Amsterdam’s Joseph Santiago was sixth overall and first in the Rams’ dual meet with Gloversville, posting a time of 20:39.76.
“We’ve never done the double-dual meet format before. It’s good to have a few different teams all running together,” Wilary said. “We want to be competitive in our meets with the South Division schools and finish in the top half at the Foothills Council Championships. If we can do that, it will be a good season.”
Skylar Matson was the lone runner for Gloversville, placing 40th overall with a time of 36:28.97.
Though Gloversville had just one runner in the boys and girls races, Amsterdam, B-P and Scotia-Glenville all have healthy numbers this season.
“We’ve got strong numbers this year, but we’re very young,” Richards said.
Scotia-Glenville has a team that includes nearly 40 runners this season.
“We have about 37-38 kids between the boys and girls teams, so I guess the kids like the program,” Krogh said. “They’re buying in to what we’re doing and we have a great group of parents.”
Amsterdam also heads into the season with a solid group.
“Numbers have definitely been a problem in a lot of sports,” Wilary said. “We have 15 to 16 boys and eight girls, so we’ve got a good group. They are working hard and doing everything coach [Olivia] Rehm and I ask them to do.”
For all of the teams in attendance, getting back to normal is just one step along the way for the season.
“We’re still shaking off the rust, but the kids did a really good job of preparing for the season this summer,” Krogh said. “We’re always trying to catch Burnt Hills and Queensbury, and the Mohonasen girls are always strong. There’s always someone out there to try to catch up to.”
Scotia-Glenville and Broadalbin-Perth will compete at the Queensbury Invitational on Saturday.
Next week’s South Division meet will take place at Johnstown with Amsterdam, Broadalbin-Perth and Scotia-Glenville in attendance.
“We’ve talked about going to a double-dual format for a while,” Richards said. “I think it’s great and it makes for more competition. Each week, we’ll be running against the same teams we saw the week before, so we can compare how we do week-to-week.”
AMSTERDAM 15, GLOVERSVILLE inc.
At Broadalbin-Perth, 3.1 miles – Santiago (A), 20:39.76; Garcia (A), 22:04.49; Naish (A), 22:19.26; Motyka (A), 22:19.42; Billington (A), 23:04.09; Rivera (A), 23:35.13; Stachnik (A), 24:59.42; Bresonis (A), 25:52.73; Torres (A), 25:57.97; Serrani (A), 25:29.24.
SCOTIA-GLENVILLE 19, BROADALBIN-PERTH 42
At Broadalbin-Perth, 3.1 miles – Allen (S-G), 18:27.85; Couperus (B-P), 18:35.50; Bednarek (S-G), 20:24.17; Freihofer (S-G), 20:29.31; Cowdrey (S-G), 20:30.20; Jansen (S-G), 21:10.63; VanAlstine (B-P), 21:15.46; Knaggs (S-G), 21:15.94; Haverkamp (S-G), 21:17.71; Wilkinson (S-G), 21:51.22.
AMSTERDAM 15, GLOVERSVILLE inc.
At Broadalbin-Perth, 3.1 miles – Crespo-Julia (A), 25:07.43; Kelly (A), 25:34.45; Bohm (A), 26:51.27; Sculco (A), 27:51.87; Reed (A), 31:31.22; McDonald (A), 32:46.
SCOTIA-GLENVILLE 18, BROADALBIN-PERTH 37
At Broadalbin-Perth, 3.1 miles – James (S-G) 21:06.83; Smith (S-G), 22:44.46; McCarthy (S-G), 23:28.96; E. Frasier (B-P), 23:32.47; Allen (S-G), 24:05.05; Murphy (B-P), 24:23.02; Goldstein (S-G), 24:29.93; Phillips (B-P), 25:15.96; L. Frasier (B-P), 25:36.15; Lin (B-P), 25:37.61.
Paul Wager can be reached at 518-395-3152, [email protected], or @PaulWager24 on Twitter.