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Saratoga running star closes with a flourish

Saratoga running star closes with a flourish

Chmiel, Berg, D'Ambrosio set area bests at national track meet
Saratoga running star closes with a flourish
From left, co-coach Linda Kranick, Ella Kurto, Kelsey Chmiel, Sophie Tesla, McKinley Wheeler and co-coach Art Kranick.
Photographer: PHOTO PROVIDED

Saratoga Springs distance star Kelsey Chmiel capped her scholastic career with a record run in one race and a comeback victory in another at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor over the weekend at Aggie Stadium in Greensboro, N.C.

The North Carolina State commit placed second in the girls' Championship division 5,000-meter run and established an all-time area best with a 16:18.57 Friday.

Chmiel's time was the second-fastest in New York state history, and a state record for interscholastic competition. Mary Cain of Bronxville ran 15:45.46 in open competition against the pros in 2015. The former 5,000 all-time area best of 16:30.90 was set by Saratoga's Nicole Blood in 2005.

Sydney Masciarelli of Marianapolis Academy, Pa., won the race in 16:16.20, and Chmiel just edged out Lydia Russell of Friends' Central, Pa., who was third in 16:18.72. Masciarelli was the national Foot Locker cross country champion last fall.

"I can't say enough about her [Chmiel's] performance," Saratoga co-coach Linda Kranick said. "She really wanted it."

On Sunday, Chmiel was part of Saratoga's (Kinetic Running Club) winning Championship 4xmile relay (20:31.67) with freshman Ella Kurto, senior Sophie Tesla and eighth-grader McKinley Wheeler.

"It was a great ending to a great high school career," Kranick said. "So special. I can't tell you."

Chmiel was in 11th place when she began her anchor leg and popped a 4:46 mile to get the win for her team.

"She was on a mission, and she passed everybody," Kranick said. "Kelsey and Sophie are very good friends and that might have motivated Kelsey a little more. At the end she showed so much emotion. She even did a fist pump. She never did that before."

"I was really fortunate to be part of such a great relay team at nationals, and being able to break the tape was a special way to end my senior season," Chmiel said. "The team did a good job of putting me in position for my leg. I can't give them enough credit for their effort in racing and training this year."

Chmiel was the national outdoor 2-mile champion as a sophomore.

Shenendehowa (Legacy TC) placed fifth (20:37.27) in the girls' Championship 4xmile, and Niskayuna was ninth (20:59.12).

OTHER TOP PERFORMANCES

Schalmont junior Mia D'Ambrosio broke the all-time area mark with a first-place 23.94 in the preliminaries of the Emerging Elite 200, and later finished sixth in the final with a 24.09. Colonie's Kyle Plante had held the all-time area mark with a 23.96 that she clocked in 2012.

D'Ambrosio's NBNO effort also included a second in the EE 400 with a personal-best 55.52, which puts her at No. 4 all-time in Section II.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (Deluge TC) placed second in the boys' Championship 4xmile in 17:26.98 for No. 3 all-time in Section II with seniors Tyler Berg, Evan Brennan, Aidan Gillooley and Nick Hunziker. Burnt Hills ran a 17:26.62 last year for the No. 2 all-time area position behind Shenendehowa (17:25.32 in 2004).

Berg was sixth in the Championship 5,000 (14:40.81) with an all-time area best effort. The 5,000 mark had stood since Jeff Dybas of Queensbury ran a 15:08.90 in 1987.

"Since the demise of the Empire State Games, the one place where a high school athlete can run one [5,000] is at nationals," Burnt Hills coach Chip Button said.

Niskayuna senior Marty Dolan placed third in the boys' Championship 2,000 steeplechase in 5:58.32 for the No. 2 position on the Section II all-time list.

Shenendehowa placed fourth in the girls' Championship 3,200 relay (9:02.38), and Guilderland placed fifth in the boys'  Championship 1,600 sprint medley relay (3:27.74).

In the Emerging Elite division, Colonie (Sky's the Limit TC) finished second in the boys' 800 relay (1:28.72), and Mohonasen was sixth in the girls' 1,600 sprint medley relay with a school-record run (4:11.68).

McKinley Wheeler  (11:04.58) and her twin sister Sheridan (11:08.24) placed first and second in the Junior High School 2-mile run, and Shaker (Bison TC) eighth-grader Kaleigh Higgins (11:21.03) was third. Shaker seventh-grader Leonni Griffin took third in both the JHS 1-mile run (5:09.40) and 800 (2:17.52).

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 528-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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