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Bombers boys and girls bring home titles
November 2, 2018

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ELIZABETHTOWN - The Saranac Lake boys cross country team continued its perfect season with a team championship at the Section VII, Class C state qualifier meet Friday at Cobble Hill Golf Course, and the Lake Placid boys and girls each captured Class D titles as more than 20 local runners earned spots in next weekend's NYSPHSAA championships on Long Island.

The Red Storm boys took six of the top 10 individual spots, winning the team scoring handily with just 15 points to Beekmantown's 84 and Plattsburgh's 90. Saranac Lake has won every dual and invitational meet it entered this season for a spotless 22-0 record.

The Blue Bombers boys easily won the Class D team scoring with 19 points to EKMW's 51 and Ticonderoga's 61.

On the girls' side, Lake Placid eked out a two-point victory over Seton Catholic, 29-31 and topped EKMW by 30 points. In Class C, Saranac Lake placed third in team scoring and will send two girls to the state meet, while the winning teams will each send seven runners. Saranac Central won the Class C team scoring with 34 points to Peru's 56 and Saranac Lake's 66.

The races started with the girls Class C and D race, followed by the boys race. Both groups ran two laps for a 3-mile total distance.

In the girls race, Saranac Central's Rachel Woodruff set a course record in her first-place overall finish with a time of 17 minutes, 28 seconds. In the Class C race, Saranac Lake's Katie Samperi (19:15.9) finished seventh and was followed across the line by teammates Gwen Mader (19:27.6) and Bella Wissler (19:37). Samperi and Mader will represent the Red Storm at the state meet.

In the Class D race, Annie Rose-McCandlish earned first place with a gutsy finish for a time of 18:49.8. Teammate Harley Cohen (19:57.5) placed fifth, and Sara Rose-McCandlish (20:25) took seventh. The Blue Bombers also took slots nine, 10 and 11, with Anya Morgan finishing in 21:01.5, Marli Damp (21:08) taking 10th, followed by Sandra Harper in 22:00.5.

Annie Rose-McCandlish said she dug deep to get the first-place finish.

"I feel really good," she said. "I was just like, 'I feel like I still have some gas in the tank,' so I booked it. And they weren't going as fast as I thought they were, so I just booked it. So I just sprinted as hard as I could and I got it."

On the boys side, the Red Storm and Blue Bombers teams were the favorites going into the race. Running as a pack, the Red Storm took spots one through six and slot eight in the race, and will send a full contingent of runners to the state meet.

Sophomore James Catania earned first place with a time of 15:23.6, and was followed closely by senior Anderson Gray (15:26.6) and sophomore Peter Fogarty (15:29.7). Micah McCulley (15:50.3) was fourth, Andrew Fogarty (16:02.7) was fifth and Tucker Jakobe (16:08.6) placed sixth. Senior Jacob Alberga rounded out the Red Storm's top 10 showing with an eighth-place finish and a time of 16:16.7.

Catania said his team is simply in tune with themselves and the courses they run.

"Coming off the bus, we're all in the zone. For the most part, we're pretty happy about it," he said. "It's all about just knowing where I am. We're always pushing each other. As much as we're friends, it's nice to have some friendly competition."

Catania said he and his team will be ready for the state championships next week.

"It's just a matter of running the same stuff through your head," he said. "You don't want to change anything with how well we've all been doing. We'll preview the course and know where all the turns are, and just know where it's a good place to get some separation on our opponents."

In the Class D race, the Blue Bombers also had a strong showing and earned five of the top 10 spots. Noah Fine (16:08.4) placed second overall, and was followed across the line by Jesse Izzo (16:09.9). Max Flanigan (16:28.5) was fifth and teammate Mike Skutt (16:37.2) was sixth, while Van Ledger (18:07.1) rounded out the top 10.

Lake Placid coach Mel Frazer said she was proud of her kids, and was holding back a little dance as she waited to hear the official girls results.

"They ran great, they all came together," she said. "There were three of them fighting for the top spot, which is always healthy fun. Max Flanigan had the race of his life today. The boys have been working hard and focused all season.

"This time of the season, it's more about speed and not so much getting mileage."

Saranac Lake coach Bill Peer said that though he was happy with Friday's results, it's just another week in the season.

"They raced well; they were focused and they got it done," Peer said. "So we'll just continue to go. It's week 13, and we have a plan in place. They'll run tomorrow, come in Monday and Tuesday and have a good workout."

Both Lake Placid and Saranac Lake runners will travel to Long Island for the NYSPHSAA championships at Sunken Meadow State Park on Saturday, Nov. 10.

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