Newfane cross country takes N-O league titles again

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2020 at 2:48 pm

Medina’s Cameron Castanon and Arian Cayea lead boys race; Kylie Bowman of Newfane is N-O league champ for girls

Photos by Tom Rivers: Cameron Castanon of Medina heads to the finish line in winning the Niagara-Orleans League title today in Barker in a time of 17:31.

BARKER – Newfane’s cross country team swept the Niagara-Orleans League titles today in Barker.

The Newfane girls made it six straight titles. They scored 23 points and their first five runners were all in the top 10, led by Kylie Bowman is 1st, Leah Siegmann in 3rd, Taylor Heschke in 4th, Catalena Ersing in 6th and Marina Ersing in 9th.

Kylie Bowman of Newfane finished first in the girls race in 19:50, the only one to break 20 minutes among the girls.

The Newfane girls topped Akron (60 points), Wilson (89 points), Albion (98 points), Barker (100 points), Roy-Hart (164) and Medina (178 points).

The Newfane boys have now won the league title four straight years. They had five of the top 12 spots and were led by Nick Baes in 4th, Andrew Cuzzacrea in 6th, Connor Cuzzacrea in 7th, Jayden Reynolds in 9th and Austin Burkhard in 12th.

Newfane’s 38 points topped Medina (47), Barker (76), Albion (117), Roy-Hart (130), Akron (139), and Wilson (175).

Mike Heitzenrater, Newfane coach, said the team stayed motivated during the summer, even with uncertainty whether there would be a season. There won’t be a state meet, but there will be Sectionals in about two weeks in Bemus Point. With no state meet, Heitzenrater said Newfane is putting a greater focus on the league and Sectionals.

He praised Kylie Bowman, the freshman who won the race.

“She worked all through the summer regardless if whether there would be a season or not,” Heitzenrater said.

Bowman switched from soccer to cross country last season. She was second to Lauren Wagner of Akron at the 2019 N-O League race. This year they switched places.

Bowman said the Newfane runners pushed each other in a friendly way.

“I really like being on the team,” she said. “It’s like a family.”

Lauren Wagner of Akron, the defending N-O League and Sectional champ, was second in today’s race in a time of 20:09. She is shown leading Taylor Heschke of Newfane, who finished fourth in 20:30. They are pictured at about the halfway point in the 5-kilometer race.

Cameron Castanon of Medina won the boys race in a blistering 17:31. He held off a pack that included his teammate Arian Cayea who was second in 17:36, Reuben Rivers of Albion in third (17:37), Nick Baes of Newfane in fourth (17:38) and Jay Heideman of Roy-Hart in fifth (17:39).

Christian Held, the Medina coach, said it was an exciting race with the five in the front pushing each other so hard.

“They were all going for it today,” Held said. “It was so much fun to watch.”

Arian Cayea of Medina, right, finished second in 17:36, edging Reuben Rivers of Albion, third (17:37); Nick Baes of Newfane, fourth (17:38); and Jay Heideman of Roy-Hart, fifth (17:39).

The Medina boys were second and were 5-1 during the season, a significant turnaround from a year ago when the team was in last place at the league race.

“They are really hungry,” Held said. “They have grown and they have worked hard. I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids.”

Cameron Castanon has won every race he’s been in this fall.

“He is a natural runner, who just runs, and runs, and runs,” his coach said.

Held also praised Arian Cayea who was second and made a strong move at the finish.

“He is a worker who likes to hunt people down,” Held said.

Castanon said the team stayed active in the summer. He ran and also did a lot of biking to prepare for a season that was in doubt due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“Mentally it’s been a hard season,” Castanon said about the uncertainty and often solo runs. “But you get out of it what you put into it.”

Alanna Holman of Albion was fifth today, finishing ahead of Catalena Ersing of Newfane. Holman, a senior, earned first team all-league for the fourth straight year.

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