TUPPER LAKE - Both the Tupper Lake girls and boys cross country teams had a strong turnout this year, giving the squads hope for the future.
"Last year, we had some different kids come out for the team and they just kind of went out and told everyone how much fun they had, so we have a couple kids on the roster that have never done a high school sport," Tupper Lake coach Amy Farrell said. "It's a really nice group of kids."
The girls squad will feature five juniors and one freshman, who happens to be the only experienced cross country runner on the team.
Senior Bryan Geiger, seen here during a meet last year, is back to pace the Tupper Lake boys cross country team.
(Enterprise file photo — Mike Lynch)
Ari Bishop is that freshman. She moved up to varsity halfway through last season. Bishop will be joined by Hannah Klossner, Samatha Ormsby, Gretchen O'Leary, Abbie St. Onge and Emily Sexton.
Farrell said both Klossner and Ormsby are experienced track runners, so that should help with their transition, although neither specialized in long-distance events. Still, Farrell noted each is talented.
Farrell also noted that O'Leary is a nordic skier, so she should have good endurance.
Abbie St. Onge
"She's pretty tough and hardy and loves to be in the woods," Farrell said.
The team did lose a fair number of talented runners to graduation last year. Olivia Walsh, Amanda Moeller, Emily Kriwox and top runner Becky Dukett all graduated.
As for the boys, they will be led by Bryan Geiger. The senior was the top runner on last year's team and should be able to regain that spot.
"He already seems to be in good shape," Farrell said. "Last year was kind of his big breakout year. He really got it together and was our top runner every meet. So I think he's hoping to piggyback off his experience from last year."
Farrell said she also expects good things from Randy Charland, a senior who transferred from Saranac Lake. He should compete for the second or third spot.
"He challenges Geiger during the workouts," Farrell said.
The only other senior on the squad is Chad Williams. The four juniors are Brandon Bedore, Josh Fletcher, Dylan Miller and Cam McGillis, followed by sophomores Broyce Guerette and Mark Pratico and freshmen Anson Gagnier, Ben Geiger and Cameron LaMare.
Farrell said some of the guys still need to get in better shape, but once they do she expects big improvements in their times.
"I think over the next two months, they're going to make some huge leaps," she said.
The Lumberjacks will also have some top-notch assistant coaches guiding the way. John Waldron will be joined by four-time Division III national champion Wendy Pavlus, who graduated from Saint Lawrence this past spring.