N-O runners compete at state championship
Albion’s Holman is 23rd in Class C; Newfane girls are 4th and boys 5th in Class C
Local cross country runners had a strong showing at today’s state cross country championships in Long Island at the Sunken Meadow State Park.
Albion sophomore Alanna Holman finished 23rd on the hilly course against 130 of the best runners in Class C in the state. Holman also qualified for states last year. She cut two minutes off her time, and moved up 40 spots in the rankings.
Holman seemed to get stronger as the race went on today, advancing when many of the runners faded from the hills at Sunken Meadow.
“She was outstanding,” said Coach Mark Hyrvniak. “She had a very strong finish.”
Holman has a “never-give-up attitude” and keeps running hard to the finish line, Hyrvniak said.
“It’s her mindset,” he said.
Holman said she benefitted from many training runs on the hills at Mount Albion Cemetery. She also said her teammates and friends sent her numerous text messages as a show of support. Before she boarded the bus on Thursday morning for Long Island, the Albion pep band gave her a sendoff from the school.
“I had so many supporting me,” she said. “My whole experience was like heaven. I met so many great people.”
She learned from last year, when she said she didn’t know what to expect at States. That race was on a muddy course at Wayne Central.
This time she was more focused, and determined, even though it meant pushing through pain to keep her pace throughout the race.
“Pain is temporary and pride is forever,” Holman said. “I know if I push a little harder, that it’s so worth it.”
The Newfane girls and boys teams both qualified for states after winning Sectionals on Nov. 2 at Bemus Point. They competed against 10 other teams that won Sectionals around the state.
The Newfane boys were fifth in Class C. Saranac Lake was first with 31, followed by Westhill at 83, and Irvington at 118. Newfane and Port Jefferson both had 119, but Port Jefferson got fourth in a tie-breaker because their sixth man was ahead of Newfane’s.
Newfane’s top five boys were freshman Austin Burkard, 21st at 17:32.2; senior Robert Stevenson, 36th at 17:53.7; sophomore Nick Baes, 49th at 18:07.5; junior Alan Lingle, 50th at 18:08.4; and freshman Conner Cuzzacrea, 89th at 19:18.5.
In the girls race, Newfane finished fourth as a team out of 11 with 140 points, behind the champion Greenwich (38), second place Bronxville (105) and third place Clinton (117).
Newfane’s top five were senior Kimberly Goerss at 6th in 19:51.2; eighth grader Catalena Ersing at 50th in 21:23.6; junior Vanessa Burkard in 66th at 21:48.9; junior Lydia Chunco at 68th in 21:51.9; and sophomore Marina Ersing at 85th in a time of 22:17.7.
Two other Niagara-Orleans runners were in the race. Peter DiLorenzo, a junior, competed in the Class D boys race and was 19th for Barker with a time of 17:52.0
William Schwarzmueller, a senior for Wilson, completed in the Class C boys race and was 48th with a time of 18:02.6.