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State of euphoria

Eldred junior Alex Campanella (16:15.72) repeats as Section 9 Class D champ. Campanella will also be returning to states, this time with an eye on winning it all to surpass last year’s 15th-place finish.


November 10, 2011

BEAR MOUNTAIN, NY — Fall sports give way to winter endeavors as teams begin to practice for basketball, wrestling, cheerleading and indoor track, while skiers do their dry-land training for the snowy trails that will soon grace area slopes. But the awesome autumn is not over yet. This past weekend’s Section 9 Cross-Country championships, held at blustery Bear Mountain, did signal the season’s end for most area harriers, but not for the elite runners who emerged as champions, as well as for those who qualified for the NYSPHSAA State Championship meet to be held at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School on November 12.

In the best showing over the course of the past three years, Sullivan County produced a trio of Section 9 champions and a total of 16 runners who qualified for states, topping last year’s nine.

Tri-Valley senior Jim Bernstein (16:12.68) won his first-ever Section 9 cross-country title and returns to states looking to greatly surpass his 53rd-place Class C finish a year ago. Bernstein finally topped the field by exceeding last year’s sixth-place time of 17:08.68. “I love this course,” he said. Bernstein finished fifth at the OCIAA league championships a week prior at Bear Mountain, a harbinger of his sectional success.

Eldred junior Alex Campanella (16:15.72) successfully defended his Section 9 Class D crown as he made amends for his fourth-place finish in the OCIAA meet, which he said was far from his best showing. Campanella is one of the state’s top-ranked Class D runners. He looks to radically improve on last year’s 15th-place finish at this year’s state meet.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” is the mantra for Eldred senior Christine Donnelly (20:09.84) who won the Section 9 Class D title in her fifth try. Donnelly missed the state meet by one place in 2010. Tri-Valley’s girls won the Class C team title, thereby sending all seven of its runners to states as it edged out Sullivan West 52-56, despite the Lady Westies placing three runners among the top 10 finishers. “It’s extremely disappointing,” said SW coach George Shakelton, who claimed to have never seen a second-place team with three top 10 runners sending no one to the state meet.