By Kyle Lewis, Joe Manaseri and Richard Furst
Last Friday, the Goshen cross country team returned to Bear Mountain for a third and final time this season to compete at the Section IX Championship meet.
The Lady Gladiators were focused and ready to go on the bus ride to Bear Mountain. Individual and team goals were to be conquered on a cloudy, humid day. Confidence was high, as times were fast at the County meet the week before. The girls warmed up around the lake and stretched away from the crowd near the comfort station at Bear Mountain. There wasn’t much talking, just an eagerness to start racing. Before the race, last year’s senior captain, Victoria Fini surprised the girls with a guest appearance and provided even more inspiration.
The gun went off and the ladies were out very fast. Kayla Schramm was out in front with the leader the entire race and stayed there until the end. She challenged herself to stay up top the entire time, improving on the hill and keep a fast pace on the last mile. Schramm finished in 2nd place with a time of 18:41. She was the first non-team finisher to qualify for the NYS Championship meet.
Close teammate and senior captain Madison Montgomery, led her team through another fast race. She posted the second fastest time of her career at Bear Mountain, running 19:38. Even more thrilling, Montgomery was the fifth and final person to qualify for the NYS Championship meet at Sunken Meadow. It was a proud moment see both the senior leader of the team and a rising star freshman making it to the big time once again.
Other outstanding performances and contributors include freshman Ysa Paneto (19:43.43), sophomores Jade Kimmel (21:36) and Kirsten McKenna (21:37), along with freshman Madison Schaaff, running 21:59. The Lady Gladiators placed 2nd overall in a tight race against Cornwall. The overall score of 28 to 58, is getting closer each year, and the Lady Glads are hoping to catch them in years to come.
While times were slower this week, many speed ratings were faster as the conditions added 20-30 seconds to times. And with six girls returning next year, the girls hope to move up to the next level of competition. The long term goal is for the team to earn a national ranking. It’s a big dream but that’s what champions do. They dream big, then do whatever it takes to make the dream reality.
Later, the boys’ team followed suit. With personal and team goals set, the boys were focused like never before. Senior captain Nicolas Paneto has been a strong and effective leader for the Goshen boys’ cross country team this season, and this day would be no different. Paneto’s calm and supportive leadership kept the squad focused and motivated leading up to their race. An unprecedented five Gladiator alumni including Jesse Chain, Liam Higgins, Louis Greco, Joe Medina, and Zak Constantine were in attendance to support the team and further inspire the squad.
By the time the boys raced, temperatures were unseasonably warm, humidity was at its height, and the starting line was slick with mud. Despite these unfavorable conditions, the boys sought out to achieve their goals in the ultra competitive Class B race. With NYS Class B number three ranked Cornwall, and number five ranked newcomer Mount Academy serving as the main competition, the Gladiator guys were ready to give it their best effort.
Like last week, Nicolas Paneto raced up front with Cornwall’s Seth Bywater. The two seniors would take turns leading throughout the three-mile race, but it was Bywater who would run away at the end, with Paneto finishing in 16:19 as runner up, earning the first of five individual spots to qualify for the State meet. Going into States, Paneto is ranked 18th in NYS Class B.
Stephen Perrillo-Sullivan was the next Gladiator to cross the finish line, running 16:27 for 7th place, despite taking a hard fall at the start of the race. His strong performance pushes his speed rating to an all-time high of 167, which ranks him 30th in NYS Class B. Perrillo also earned the fifth and final individual spot at the State meet.
Finishing right after Perrillo was fellow junior Andrew Johnson, who ran 16:29 for 8th place. Johnson has run with heart and passion all season long, and his race at Sections was no exception. While most athletes were 20-30 seconds slower at Sections compared with Counties a week before, Johnson was only 2 seconds slower, boosting his speed rating to an impressive 166, ranking him 42nd in NYS Class B. Despite finishing one place short of qualifying for the State meet after a brilliant performance that in any other recent year would have earned him a spot at States, Johnson kept a positive attitude stating, “I may not have earned a spot at States, but I earned a reason to be proud of myself.”
Freshman Greg Hannibal ran another excellent race, finishing in 17:19. Strong performances from Blake Albanese (18:36), Aidan Hackman (18:40), and Chris Perez Garcia (18:45), rounded out the Goshen boys competitors.
The boys finished a close third in team standings behind Class B powerhouses Cornwall and Mount Academy. As a team, the Gladiators proudly complete the season ranked 7th in NYS Class B. Next year, the Goshen boys look to unseat both Cornwall and Mount Academy, with five of the top seven runners returning.
Paneto, Montgomery, Perrillo, and Schramm will compete Saturday at Sunken Meadow State Park at the NYSPHSAA Championship meet. For full coverage, follow the teams’ Twitter accounts @GoshenXCTF and @LadyGladsXCTF.