Several locals heading to state meet

BEMUS POINT – Eight local runners qualified for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Cross Country meet next weekend at Queensbury High School after qualifying Friday during the Section 6 championships.

In the boys’ races, Lake Shore’s T.J. Hornberger finished first on the 3.1-mile course in a time of 15:50.9 while Gowanda’s Mathew Kruszka was third in the Class C race in a time of 17:19.8. Dunkirk’s Ethan Francis was sixth in a time of 17:29.9.

“He ran a great race (Friday),” Dunkirk head coach said of Francis. “He finished really strong all season, especially (Friday) when the course was really wet. It’s his second year in cross country and it certainly will be an honor to take him to the state meet (next) Saturday.”

“I don’t know if we expected this at the beginning (of the season),” Gowanda head coach Pete Palmer added of Kruszka. “But toward the end of the year, we figured he’d run third (Friday) and that’s exactly where he was.”

Five girls qualified for the state meet, including a pair of Fredonia Lady Hillbillies as Gwen Stokes (20:26.9) was fourth and Michaela Tramuta (20:28.1) was fifth. The duo will compete in the Class C meet next weekend.

“We were very happy for both the girls,” Fredonia head coach Carol Zirkle said. “Especially Michaela. She’s been a huge part of our program. I just wanted her to be able to finish her career with running in a state meet and going to states five years in a row is an incredible accomplishment.

“She’s worked hard,” Zirkle added of Stokes. “She’s gotten to go to states before and with a different team dynamic (this season), there’s a lot more pressure on her to perform well. She’s just gotten better and better and it’s great for the program to have girls with state experience.”

In the Class D meet, a trio of Silver Creek Black Knights will take the trip down state as Emma Seiders finished third in a time of 20:26.0, Hannah Seiders was seventh in a time of 21:17.7 and Sarah Adams was 11th in a time of 21:46.7.

Lake Shore and Dunkirk finished third in their respective boys meets while Fredonia finished fourth behind the Marauders, Gowanda was ninth and Silver Creek was 12th.

The Eagles were behind Sweet Home (60) and East Aurora (60) with 114 points while the Marauders, who finished with 150 points were behind Alden (96) and Southwestern (123) in the Class C race. The Hillbillies finished with 167 points while Gowanda had 200 and Silver Creek 258.

“We’re very happy with how the boys ran,” Zirkle said. “Going in, we knew it was going to be competitive and we’re very pleased with how the team has progressed and happy with how all the runners have improved this season.”

Besides Francis, Javier Soto finished ninth in a time of 18:00. However, Soto had held the fourth position late in the race, but collided with the third-place finisher, dropping him out of contention to compete next weekend.

“Unfortunately, Javier, our No. 1 runner had a collision with a quarter of a mile to go,” Warmbrodt said. “He was fourth, about to move into third, and he hit his knee, so he came in hurt at ninth place.”

For the Hillbillies, Joshua Goodhue finished 10th in a time of 18:02.1 and was followed on the team by Mike Meredith (12th, 18:05.3), Stephen Formanowicz (21st, 18:23.5), Ryan Meredith (52nd, 19:14.4), Jacob Eckman (19:48.0), Nick Arcoraci (74th, 19:55.6).

“We’re very happy with how the boys ran,” Zirkle said. “Going in, we knew it was going to be competitive and we’re very pleased with how the team has progressed and happy with how all the runners have improved this season.”

Aside from Mathew Kruszka’s third-place finish, Joey Kruszka finished 26th in a time of 18:34.7 while Ian Warrior finished 48th in a time of 19:09.3. Also finishing for the Panthers were Ben Myzel (53rd, 19:15.7), Ryan Monet (70th, 19:46.6), Zach Bogardus (81st, 20:00.6) and Nick Marrocco (105th, 21:10.1).

Jake Mullen had the best time for the Black Knights as he finished 37th in a time of 18:47.3 while teammates James Corbin (46th, 19:05.5), James McAlevey (49th, 19:11.0), Caleb Makuch (61st, 19:34.4), Jakob McDaneld (65th, 19:40.2) and Ryan Ruia (67th, 19:44.5) also finished.

The Lady Panthers finished third with 90 points, behind Akron (62) and Alden (68). The Lady Hillbillies were fourth with 98 points.

“I’m very happy with the girls performance (Friday),” Palmer said. “And even though we didn’t get anyone to states, with 27 teams in the (Class) C race, it’s hard to get anyone in the top five, but as a team they ran well and their times were about the same as last week, even though the course was slower. So, I thought they ran up to what they were capable (Friday).”

“The girls’ team ran so much better than they did last week,” Zirkle added of the Lady Hillbillies. “And we were happy with the way they ran last week. Right down the line, every girl showed improvement.”

Colleen Steward finished in ninth place for the Lady Panthers, crossing the finish line in a time of 20:48.4 while teammate Hunter Samuelson finished 11th in a time of 21:01.2. Also for Gowanda, Katelynn Jaroszewski finished 17th (21:36.4), Sarah Grubbs was 26th (22:10.8), Lexi Latona was 30th in a time of 22:37.5 and Nina Roman was 41st in a time of 22:54.4.

Besides Stokes’ fourth-place finish and Tramuta’s fifth-place finish, Claire O’Brien finished 18th in a time of 21:40.2 and was followed by Maitland Langworthy (31st, 22:37.8), Mary Polvino (45th, 23:20.3) and Skylar Salim (48th, 23:31.5).

“We’re very proud with how the girls have run all season,” Zirkle said. “And with what they were able to accomplish (Friday).”

Maple Grove won the girls’ Class D meet with 21 points while Silver Creek took second with 57. Barker was third with 75 points.

Although Silver Creek was led by Emma Seiders, Hannah Seiders and Adams, Rachel Radack was 14th in a time of 22:26.8, Claire Castiglia was 23rd in a time of 23:38.1 and Carol Pelz (35th, 25:17.4).