This was a long time coming.
The Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons boys’ cross country team believed it had the raw material for a championship team as far back as a few years ago.
Bucking history that shows no Section II championships for the Golden Knights since all the way back to 1983, Bishop Gibbons finally assembled the finished product on Saturday, winning Class B by 34 points over four-time defending champ Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.
Seniors Jordan Pantalone (15:24.87) and Jason Lange (15:25.50) took the top two spots at Saratoga Spa State Park for the Golden Knights, followed closely by senior Matt Lange in fourth (15:59.40).
Once eighth-grader Jonah Allard finished seventh in 15:48.98 and senior Nick Przekurat placed 21st in 16:22.12, Bishop Gibbons’ victory was complete.
“It’s been our goal, I believe, since our sophomore year, when we realized that we had the tools to put together a championship team,” Pantalone said. “It’s nice to finally have it all come together.”
“We’ve wanted this for awhile, and kept coming up short,” Jason Lange said. “Being with these guys for so many years, it’s just nice to finally win with them.”
Bishop Gibbons has been ranked No. 1 in the state for the last four weeks, but, as usual, faced a difficult test just to get out of its own section.
Burnt Hills had four runners in the top 18 places, but needed Przekurat to have a very bad day to offset the scoring punch of the four Golden Knights who were in the top seven.
It didn’t happen.
Another Section II Class B powerhouse, Queensbury, wasn’t far behind the Spartans.
“We didn’t talk much about strategy, we just knew we had to come out and do what we’ve been doing all year,” Bishop Gibbons coach Jonathan Broderick said. “Burnt Hills is a great program, and Queensbury, too, and we definitely didn’t take them lightly.”
“I have all the respect in the world for Burnt Hills,” Pantalone said. “Four championships in a row, and they weren’t going down without a fight. We came ready to run.”
Pantalone and the Langes went to the state meet as at-large individuals last year, but this time they’ll bring a busload of teammates.
The state meet will be held at Elma Meadows Golf Course in Buffalo next Saturday.
“It’s so much more satisfying going as a team, so much better; I love it,” Pantalone said.
“I’ve had most of these kids since seventh grade, and you never know what’s going to happen in the future, but my top three guys stuck with it all these years, and it’s really paid off,” Broderick said.
In Class A, Saratoga Springs swept the boys’ and girls’ championships for the eighth time in the last 25 years; Holy Names won its first Class B girls’ title since 2005; the Fonda-Fultonville boys and Schuylerville girls won Class C; and Greenwich swept Class D.
Senior Taylor Driscoll won the Class A race for Saratoga with the fastest girls’ time of the day, 17:26.08, followed by teammate Keelin Hollowood, also a senior, in second (17:41.32).
“We took it out fast and just kept up the pace and tried to get as many PR’s as we could,” Driscoll said.
“They did their job,” Saratoga co-coach Linda Kranick said. “[Freshman] Olivia Morrow took a little spill on Monday, so she was a little bit off her game, but she went in, toughed it out and got the job done.”
Albany senior Philo Germano won the boys’ Class A race in 15:18.04, followed by Saratoga’s Jay Navin (15:20.75) and Brent Freestone (15:30.14).
“It’s awesome,” Germano said. “This is what I’ve been dreaming about all season, so to go out and actually do it is amazing. I’ve been thinking about it the last week and a half. Last night, I couldn’t even sleep.”
The Saratoga boys scored 31 points, to 91 for Shenendehowa, 95 for Colonie and 96 for Shaker.
“We’re very happy with their times,” Kranick said. “They’ve been working hard and work very well together. There’s two freshmen in there, and we’re very happy with that.”
Holy Names’ Catherine Maloy had the second-fastest girls’ time (17:39.67), and Holy Names dominated by placing four other runners, Kaylee Scott, Lydia Williams, Jacqueline Willsey and Leah Triller, in the top six.
“My team won, I won my last sectionals . . . I am a little disappointed I didn’t run a little faster my last time on this course, but you can’t have it all,” Maloy said. “We didn’t run as well as we could at Colonial Councils, so coming into this, we knew we wanted to win it, and I think the score shows just how good we are.”
“This is what we were planning on all year,” Holy Names coach Carlo Cherubino said. “We knew Burnt Hills would be in our way, but I also knew that we have talent, and we’re deeper than we’ve ever been. Even if someone didn’t do well, someone else would’ve.”
The Fonda-Fultonville boys were big favorites in Class C, but didn’t let up.
Senior Matt Hoffman shook off a stitch in his side late in the race to regain his lead and pull away from Maple Hill’s Jordan Healy in 15:34.44.
The Braves scored 53 points to 88 for Maple Hill.
“I’m always more nervous at sectionals than states, because at states, you’ve got nothing to worry about, you just go out and run,” Hoffman said. “It’s a great group of guys with a lot of seniors and a lot of close friends. Let’s do our talking with our legs, that’s what coach [Mark Therrien] always says, and we did a lot of talking today.”
Nevertheless, the right side of Hoffman’s ribcage tried to interrupt the conversation as he led Healy with 1,000 meters to go.
He fell back into second and used some quick-breathing and arm stretches to get the cramp out. Once he silenced it, he took command with 800 meters left and won by over 17 seconds.
“I got a pretty nervous at first,” Hoffman said. “I let him go a little bit and let him get in front of me so I could stretch it out a little bit and he didn’t see me weak, and run off.
“Once I got it loose, I made my move, because I knew it wouldn’t last long, that good feeling. I was lucky to get back ahead of him, and I found something at the end.”
The Schuylerville girls were led by Ashley Watson, who was second in 18:39.23 to Fonda’s Jamie Kasza (18:24.74).
Schuylerville outscored the Braves, 48-71.
Senior Madeline Montague (17:51.24) and freshman Tori Spiezio (18:07.29) finished 1-2 for the Greenwich girls, and the Witches’ sophomore Jeremy Spiezio (15:24.78) snapped off a 15:24.78 in the boys’ Class D race, followed by Mayfield’s Tom McClellan in 15:51.75.
SECTION II CHAMPIONSHIPS
Team scores: Saratoga 31, Shenendehowa 91, Colonie 95, Shaker 96, Bethlehem 111, Guilderland 145, Niskayuna 182, Ballston Spa 233, Albany 243, Schenectady 309, Troy 356..
Philo Germano (Alb), 15:18.04; Jay Navin (Sara), 15:20.75; Brent Freestone (Sara), 15:30.14; Stephen Booker (Beth), 15:33.29; Aidan Tooker (Sara), 15:33.62; Ada Schwenzfeier (Shak),15:33.97; Jon Holmes (Colonie), 15:34.29; Dan Janeczko (Shen), 15:45.61; Jake Johnson (Colonie), 15:36.05; Evan Quinones (Sara), 15:37.98.
Gavin Gaynor (Sara), 15:39.74; Travis Briggs (Sara), 15:43.22; Joe Verro (Sara), 16:00.55; Mike Borini (Shen), 16:01.02; John O’Conner (Shak), 16:01.37; Jordan Johnson (Colonie), 16:05.46; Collin Rowe (Shen), 16:05.75; Dominick Brion (Nisk), 16:06.77; Benjamin Fishbein (Beth), 16:13.32; Knute Armstrong (Guild), 16:15.01.
Team scores: Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons 35, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 69, Queensbury 87, Averill Park 148, Glens Falls 171, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 187, Scotia-Glenville 226, Gloversville 249, Christian Brothers Academy 277, Ichabod Crane 284, LaSalle 309, Lansingburgh 316, Amsterdam 319, Schalmont 345, Cobleskill-Richmondville 352, Johnstown 432, South Glens Falls 452, Mohonasen 470.
Jordan Pantalone (NDBG), 15:24.87; Jason Lange (NDBG), 15:25.50; Andrew Tario (AP), 15:33.14; Matt Lange (NDBG), 15:39.40; Josh Lee (GF), 15:44.31; John Rabideau (BH), 15:47.68; Jonah Allard (NDBG), 15:48.98; Patrick McGuinness (BH), 15:50.76; John Knox (Glov), 15:56.40; Troy Kelly (Q), 16:02.10.
Alex Gifford (Glov), 16:06.56; Alex Isabelle (LSI), 16:07.60; Zach Belden (Q), 16:11.11; Jared Short (BH), 16:16.47; Ben Anderson (Q), 16:16.78; Dante Carr (Lans), 16:19.37; Mike Miller (Lans), 16:20.90; Joe Girard (BH), 16:21.17; Chris Shaw (AP), 16:21.47; Garrett Camp (Q), 16:21.84.
Team scores: Fonda-Fultonville 53, Maple Hill 88, Broadalbin-Perth 134, Schuylerville 145, Chatham 168, Corinth 178, Albany Academy 187, Cohoes 203, Greenville 279, Mechanicville 296, Voorheesville 322, Granville 328, Catholic Central 354, Fort Plain-Canajoharie 366, Taconic Hills 401, Stillwater 420, Catskill 436, Hoosic Valley 447, Hudson 553, Coxsackie-Athens 583, Tamarac 586, Watervliet 638, Cairo-Durham 655.
Matt Hoffman (FF), 15:34.44; Jordan Healy (MH), 15:51.62; Tanner Flint (Cor), 15:52.72; Matt Watson (Schuy), 16:01.76; Greg Bogdam (BP), 16:03.87; Ross Wightman (Chat), 16:14.03; Tyler Angioli (FF), 16:21.73; Joe Becker (V), 16:22.66; Ethan Jaynes (Still), 16:37.69; Jimmy Westman (FF), 16:38.62.
Devin Akerly (Cor), 16:42.05; Griffin Keegan (AA), 16:47.66; Sean McAneny (Greenville), 16:48.85; Cameron Gilligan (FF), 16:52.91; Ian Allen (Chat), 16:55.15; Jordan Ahrens (FP-C), 17:01.31; Kevin Mastro (AA), 17:11.13; Adrian Barber (MH), 17:11.88; Roscoe Quint (MH), 17:12.49; Matthew Dyer (BP), 17:13.67.
Team scores: Greenwich 55, Mekeel Christian Academy 86, Duanesburg 95, Berlin 112, Berne-Knox-Westerlo 151, Mayfield 152, Warrensburg 169, North Warren 203, Whitehall 248, Lake George 250, Argyle 271, Saratoga Catholic 295, Hadley-Luzerne 308, Bishop Maginn 442.
Jeremy Spiezio (Greenwich), 15:24.78; Tom McClellan (May), 15:51.75; Jacob Urys (MCA), 16:30.17; Patrick Murphy (Duanes), 16:35.97; Xavier McKinley (Duanes), 16:39.19; Adam Forti (BKW), 16:45.12; Chandler Hansen (Greenwich), 16:47.66; Ryun Murphy (MCA), 16:52.17; Daryn Hutchings (Arg), 16:56.26; James Brown-Kinsella (Greenwich), 16:58.75.
Devlin Kennedy (Greenwich), 17:00.02; Daniel Jardine (LG), 17:13.49; PJ Ferguson (White), 17:19.15; Christopher Murphy (MCA), 17:31.75; Evan Dawes (Berlin), 17:35.61; John Ferrone (LG), 17:42.12; Devin VanVlack (Duanes), 17:52.45; Glenn Warner (War), 17:54.78; Connor Brown (Berlin), 18:00.30; Lukus Becker (BKW), 18:02.48.
Team scores: Saratoga Springs 32, Shenendehowa 66, Shaker 112, Bethlehem 117, Guilderland 123, Niskayuna 132, Colonie 141, Ballston Spa 259, Columbia 269, Schenectady 318, Troy 330, Albany 360.
Taylor Driscoll (Sara), 17:26.08; Keelin Hollowood (Sara), 17:41.32; Maryanna Lansing (Shak), 17:46.29; Bellame Bower (Colonie), 17:55.94; Felicia Sciortino (Nisk), 17:56.61; Caroline Hampton (Shen), 17:58.79; Julia Zachgo (Shen), 18:04.41; Sarah Morin (Sara), 18:05.26; Audrey Martino (Shak), 18:13.58; Spencer Hayes (Sara), 18:17.72.
Olivia Morrow (Sara), 18:24.94; Danika Jensen (Beth), 18:35.54; Jenna Robinson (Guild), 18:37.75; Maddie Samuell (Sara), 18:48.16; Emily Crounse (Shen), 18:48.80; Bailey Kowalczyk (Shen), 18:49.52; Julia Champagne (Beth), 18:50.15; Lindsay Cheu (Beth), 18:53.29; Taylor Tommell (Guild), 18:58.89; Shania Hayward (Sara), 19:00.53.
Team scores: Holy Names 17, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 40, Queensbury 92, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons 166, Scotia-Glenville 181, Gloversville 221, Cobleskill-Richmondville 234, Emma Willard 259, Amsterdam 279, Glens Falls 306, Schalmont 308, Mohonasen 318, South Glens Falls 333, Lansingburgh 345, Ichabod Crane 356, Averill Park 358, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 450.
Catherine Maloy (HN), 17:39.67; Kaylee Scott (HN), 17:50.23; Lydia Williams (HN), 17:58.07; Emily Digman (BH), 17:58.98; Jacqueline Willsey (HN), 18:06.50; Leah Triller (HN), 18:12.22; Jordan Casey (BH), 18:27.60; Meagan Roecker (BH), 18:29.74; Sherri Metcalf (Q), 18:32.11; Lindsay Bachus (BH), 18:34.07.
Alexis Scott (BH), 18:37.49; Cara Sherman (Mohon), 18:40.95; Sheila Bashant (BH), 18:45.12; Taylor Mueller (Q), 18:46.33; Talya Williams (NDBG), 18:50.07; Estela Smith (HN), 18:57.17; Eva Scott (BH), 19:00.44; Kaitlin Close (HN), 19:04.92; Tyra Wynn (Q), 19:08.22; Erika Frees (BH), 19:09.06.
Team scores: Schuylerville 48, Fonda-Fultonville 71, Maple Hill 121, Broadalbin-Perth 136, Mechanicville 156, Cohoes 188, Catskill 201, Chatham 226, Coxsackie-Athens 236, Voorheesville 240, Albany Academy 258, Hoosic Valley 292, Watervliet 338, Catholic Central 382, Granville 388, Tamarac 389, Galway 403, Corinth 425.
Jamie Kasza (FF), 18:24.74; Ashley Watson (Schuy), 18:39.23; Victoria Hathaway (Still), 18:42.75; Kelly Pasko (MH), 18:47.80; Erin Clark (Chat), 19:18.55; Kimberly Geniti (FF), 19:19.74; Ali Bartolotta (Hudson), 19:27.27; Samantha Phelps (FF), 19:35.84; Arissa Spitalny (Mech), 19:43.13; Julia Freemire (Schuy), 19:46.33.
Maddie Mercado (Cats), 19:53.45; Sarah Carter (Cohoes), 19:55.22; Justine Kozubal (Schuy), 19:55.65; Caitlin Scavone (Schuy), 19:55.98; Tara Josberger (Cox), 19:57.45; Monica Strain (MH), 20:01.32; Rainey Cerqua (Schuy), 20:13.48; Anna Davies (Cats), 20:14.96; Schyler McGuire (Mech), 20:16.14; Halle Nightengale (HV), 20:19.84.
Team scores: Greenwich 21, Berne-Knox-Westerlo 59, Duanesburg 76, Lake George 120, Berlin 128, Saratoga Catholic 142, Warrensburg 149.
Madeline Montague (Greenwich), 17:51.24; Tori Spiezio (Greenwich), 18:07.29; Courtney Tedeschi (BKW), 18:31.68; Sarah Lapham (Greenwich), 19:17.80; Megan Erickson (NW), 19:31.45; Allie Tedeschi (BKW), 19:47.00; Candace Haskell (Greenwich), 19:57.37; Ciara Fisher (Duanes), 20:30.94; Jillian Perkins (Greenwich), 20:32.13; Lidija Nikollaj (May), 20:37.95.
Serena Rizzo (Berlin), 20:41.14; Maddy Kenyon (Duanes), 20:45.39; Katie Gregory (Duanes), 20:49.99; Meghan Riley (Greenwich), 21:35.14; Annie Grimmke (Greenwich), 21:46.27; Annielaura Shafer (BKW), 21:46.84; Abby Schaible (Duanes), 21:47.47; Ella Gurney (Spa Cath), 21:52.92; Shannon Quay (BKW), 21:54.43; Sarah Montgomery (May), 22:00.34.