State of grace
BEAR MT. and ELMA, NY — Cross-country capped off the fall season with its glorious Section 9 Championships and the NYSPHSAA Cross-Country Championships staged just four days after on November 10. The Section 9 Championships, which were held at historic Bear Mountain, the event location for the last 62 years, produced 14 Sullivan County state contenders that included the county’s lone Section 9 individual champion in Eldred’s Alex Campanella. The stalwart senior harrier, who overcame a stress fracture that eliminated most of his spring track season, a bout of mononucleosis this fall and the recent death of his grandmother, surged ahead of Mt. Academy’s Rufus Wareham to a sterling 15:52 Section 9 title win, propelling him back to states in Elma, NY, just south of Buffalo. Campanella, last year’s Class D state runner, finished third this year in 16:22.5.
“I can’t get down on myself. I left it all out there. It just wasn’t my day. I feel lucky to say I’ve done what I’ve done and I feel like I still have a lot to improve on. I still haven’t had that breakthrough race. I’m still nowhere near my potential.” Campanella will pass up this week’s Federation Championship Race at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls to train for the Nike Cross New York (NXN) Regionals held there on November 24.
Sullivan West senior Reed Scott evinced a quantum leap over his 2011 effort. Scott took fourth at sectionals in 16:22.90, surpassing his eighth-place finish a year prior. He finished 10th at states in 16:32.5, besting the three area runners who had bested him at sectionals, and qualified for the Federation Championship Race this coming weekend. “It definitely felt good to outrun everyone from our sectional race. I just made sure to stay with the lead pack. From there, I just tried to slowly pick off the runners in front of me.” Scott credited coach George Shakelton with mentoring his training over the summer and fall.
Alex Campanella and Reed Scott were the recipients of the Sportmanship Award at the state meet.
Eldred’s Dave Powers qualified for states with a 10th-place finish in Section 9. He finished 72nd at states.
Tri-Valley’s girls’ team won the Section 9 Class C title for the second straight year, a farewell tribute to soon-to-be retiring Coach Missy Iatauro, who has been at the helm for the past 34 years. Freshman Autumn Bender finished fourth at Section 9 (19:28.55), but was really impressive at states with her 14th-place finish in 19:34.2. A year ago, she was 48th in 22:43.9. Bender was joined at states by teammates Sabrena Smith, Danielle Graham. Brooke Gillette, Brittany Pennell, Ali Reynolds and Keira McHugh, who finished 64, 76, 92, 97, 104 and 116 respectively.
Sullivan West senior Dani Myers finished fifth at Section 9 in 20:03.25. Sophomore Kelsey Dutton (20:09.65) took sixth in Section 9 as the duo made it back to their third and second state meets respectively. Dutton finished 52nd at states in 20:50.3, while Myers came in 82nd in 21:27.2. Eldred seventh grader Kayla Maas was sixth in Section 9 Class D with a time of 21:43.49. She finished 67th at states in 22:38. Monticello freshman Camryn Johnson was 91st at states in Class B in her second trip to the event. She was sixth at the Section 9 championships in 19:47.53.