BY MICHAEL KELLY
SARATOGA SPRINGS — They each wanted to be one spot higher, but both the Shenendehowa cross country teams were able to keep their runner-up finishes to Saratoga Springs in perspective at the Nov. 6 Section II Class A championships.
Team-wise, the Shenendehowa boys lost 44-65, and the girls fell 29-69.
For Shenendehowa boys’ head coach Lance Jordan, his team’s second-place finish was a positive, as it meant the Plainsmen had jumped past third-place Guilderland.
“We wanted to beat out Guilderland,” Jordan said. “That was a big step up for us.”
Guilderland had been ranked better than Shenendehowa heading into the event, and the Dutchmen had beaten the Plainsmen head-to-head this season.
“We’d wanted to redeem ourselves,” Jordan said.
Meanwhile, for a Shenendehowa girls’ squad that had consistently experienced success throughout the 2015 campaign, sectionals provided an opportunity to remember that every race day is a different one unto itself. Head coach Rob Cloutier said each of his competitors turned in slower times than when they ran the same Saratoga Spa State Park course six days earlier for the Suburban Council Championships.
“That’s just funky because these girls have been so steady all season,” Cloutier said.
While disappointing, he said, such an occurrence would not define his team’s season.
“It’s just one day,” Cloutier said.
None of the Shenendehowa boys earned individual bids to the state championships, while both senior Danielle Jordan and junior Julia Zachgo will represent the Plainsmen girls at the Nov. 14 event at Monroe-Woodbury High School.
After the state championships, both Shenendehowa squads will figure out if they have earned bids to the Nov. 21 federation championships.
For the Shenendehowa girls’ team, Zachgo came in fifth place at 17:52.6; Jordan was eighth at 18:18.70; Kristina Watrobski was 15th at 18:45.00; Olivia Lomascolo was 18th at 18:52.20; and, Caroline Hartman was 25th at 19:00.90.
For the Shenendehowa boys’ team, Henry Christopher led the way with a 10th-place finish at 15:59.64; Alex Matson was 12th at 16:09.54; Nicholas Roig was 13th at 16:15.87; Joshua Lacey was 14th at 16:17.13; and, Tyler Schmidt was 16th 16:18.26.
When an athlete crosses the finish line at a cross country event, it is not uncommon for a runner to pant heavily, vomit or take to the ground for a quick respite. At Friday’s championships, it was Shenendehowa athletic trainer Rick Knizek’s job to make sure Section II’s runners received the medical attention they required.
“What we look for are kids showing abnormal levels of distress,” Knizek said. “It’s normal to have kids come across the line and be gassed and out of breath because they’ve just given their 100 percent. Kids bending over and breathing heavy, that’s nothing to be concerned about, but kids who actually physically drop . . . we look for.”
Spasms, muscle pulls and sprains are the most common injuries at the championships. But Knizek said, most athletes get out of the day without too much of an issue.
“Honestly, it’s not as many as you’d think,” Knizek said. “In total, between significant injuries and the typical nuisance-type injuries, it’s only maybe 10 or 12 on average that we need to take care of for the day.”