Building on success

In the 2013 cross-country season, a young Broadalbin-Perth girls team turned in an impressive season that culminated with a sixth place finish in the Class C team standings at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships.

Without losing a runner to graduation, the Lady Patriots are looking to improve on their standout season.

“Class C has grown and now we will have 28 teams looking to dethrone us,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Jeff Richards said. “Unlike last year, we will now have a bull’s-eye on our backs as the 27 other schools now know we are the team to beat. Consequently, we will have to train even harder and run in even tighter groups if we want to keep that bull’s-eye out of reach.”

The Lady Patriots return all seven runners from the state meet squad including seniors Sarah Naple, Victoria Opalka, Coreena Monroe and Alex Opalka, junior Cadey Nolan and freshmen Jordyn Deneuville and Mackenzie DeZolt.

Deneuville was the top finisher for the squad at the state meet with her 19th place finish in 19:58.2. DeZolt placed 22nd (20:04.3), Naple 30th (20:36.5), Victoria Opalka 33rd (20:43.4) and Monroe 42nd (21:05.8) to round out the scorers. Cadey Nolan placed 53rd in 21:30.7 and Alex Opalka was 62nd in 21:59.7.

“I will look to my seniors to keep all motivated,” Richards said. “Like last year we won’t have the front runners, but I do believe our pack will be amongst the best. The girls need to realize this and work together more than ever before. If they can run as a team we will be hard to beat.”

The Patriots will compete with a small squad after losing four of their top runners, including state-meet qualifier Greg Bogdan, to graduation.

Alex Hitrick and Jacob Mosher are the lone returners to the squad this season.

The Fort Plain girls squad also enjoyed success last season and are looking to move up in the rankings after losing one runner, Abby Boyer, to graduation.

The Lady Hilltoppers tied for the Western Athletic Conference dual meet championship and were runners-up at the WAC championship meet before finishing 10th in the Class C sectional championships.

WAC All-Stars Cheyenne Munson, Gabby Bridgewater and Breanna Hazzard return along with Alexis Kane and Carolyn Adams.

The Fort Plain boys also return a solid core of runners from a squad that finished with a 7-1 WAC dual meet record.

Coach Charlie Karker will look to returners Jon Payack, Evan Searles, Jordan Nikiol, Andrew Hanifin, Robert Thomas, Travis Herringshaw, Michael Thomas and Alex Decker to fill a void left by the graduation of state-meet qualifier Jordan Ahrens.

The Amsterdam girls squad won the Big 10 Conference Invitational last year after finishing second in the league’s dual-meet standings and earning a fifth place finish in the Class B sectionals.

This year the Lady Rams will bring a solid returning squad, including freshman Olivia Lazarou and junior Chantel Dopp, into their first year of competition in the Foothills Council.

“The 1-2 punch of Olivia Lazarou and Chantel dopp gives the team a strong upfront combination that should be supplemented by a hard working group of both veterans and newcomers from the track program,” Amsterdam girls coach Stu Palczak said.

The Rams, who finished third in the Big 10, also return a veteran squad led by John Knack.

Experience will be the key to success for Gloversville this season.

The girls squad returns seven runners from last season including Brittany Craven, Sarah and Emily Ambrosino, Katie Senzio, Tierney Vandeusen, Veronica Peck and Morgan Rienhardt.

The Huskies also return a solid base with Jack Hayes, Phil Meher, Chris Hernandez, Jacob Perez, Tyler and Justin Unislawski, Alex Buck and Tyler Rulison.

“We are an experienced group, we will be looking to improve on our placing from last year in both the Foothills Council and sectionals,” Gloversville coach Josh Herod said.

The Johnstown cross-country team will be rebuilding under the direction of first-year coach Kaylee Luppino.

Luppino will be looking to returners Cam Roten, Sam Brunetto, Lindsey Fiore and Bridget Spagnola to lead a large group of newcomers to the program.

“The Sir and Lady Bills are a young team this year, but their youth plays to their advantage as each member of the team is ready to step up and prove themselves,” Luppino said. “We look forward to building a strong cross-country program.”

Short numbers may hurt Fonda-Fultonville as they battle in the Colonial Council.

Dylan DeSorbo, Jason Klotz, Danny Westman, Damian Freeman and Clane Newcomer return to the Braves’ line up, while Jamie Kasza and Kacie Hunter return for the Lady Braves.

The Mayfield cross-country teams had a good turnout with several newcomers looking to take the Panthers toward the top of the Western Athletic Conference standings.

Josh Gallup, Connor Akowicz, Austin Davis, Jackson Dunn and Brent Gray along with Emily Cromie, Juleh Nikollaj, Kelsey Wasson and Emily Barker will provide experienced leadership for Mayfield.

Dolgeville will field a cross-county team for the first time in almost two decades this season.

The Blue Devils had a turnout of 16 runners for the season under coaches John Huddleston and Camden Smith.