Gray leads Red Storm to title
Saranac Lake, Lake Placid boys to send full teams to state meet
ELIZABETHTOWN — The Saranac Lake boys cross country team continued its unbeaten season Friday, capturing the Section VII, Class C championship at Cobble Hill Golf Course in Elizabethtown.
Junior Anderson Gray led the pack, and was joined at the front for most of the race by his three closest rivals all season: Saranac Central’s Andrew LePage, Seton Catholic’s Caleb Moore and Lake Placid senior Scott Schulz.
The four boys kept a tight collection through the race, but Gray pulled away on the homestretch and finished the 5-kilometer course in 15 minutes, 36.3 seconds. LePage took second overall with a time of 15:42, while Moore came back from an injury to finish third in 15:48.2. Schulz was just two-and-a-half seconds behind in fourth with a 15:50.7.
Saranac Lake and Lake Placid boys earned six of the top 10 spots in the 114-runner field.
“I had it in me. I’m gonna be honest, I usually don’t but it went really well,” Gray said. “Just going by feel and then at the end I had a lot left in me. It came out of nowhere almost, but I’m proud of that race. Very proud of that race.”
Saranac Lake’s Micah McCulley placed fifth with a 15:56.6, while Lake Placid’s James Flanigan took sixth in 15:58.1. Red Storm senior Lauchlan Cheney-Seymour (16:09.7) was seventh and came across the line with teammate Tyler Martin (16:09.7) in eighth to round out the local contingent.
In the team scoring, both Saranac Lake and Lake Placid won their respective classes, with the Red Storm besting Saranac for the top spot in Class C and the Blue Bombers topping Moriah-Westport for the Class D title. The victories provide Saranac Lake and Lake Placid the opportunity to bring full teams to the boys state championship meet next week in Wayne.
On the girls side, two young standouts had solid showings and each team placed second in their classes. Lake Placid eighth-grader Annie Rose-McCandlish continued her breakout year with a fourth-place overall finish, crossing the line in 18:48.4. Saranac Lake eighth-grader Evelyn Eller placed seventh in the race with a time of 19:14.6.
Sofia DeJordy won the girls race in 18:22, followed by her sister Lea DeJordy with an 18:34. Saranac’s Rachael Woodruff took third place with an 18:45.
Rose-McCandlish said she was quite pleased with both her performance Friday and with how the season has gone so far.
“I got what I was going for,” she said. “It’s pretty cool, I obviously didn’t expect it was going to happen, but I’m glad.”
Eller said conditions were great for the race.
“It felt good, most of it was really flat (and) the temperature and everything was good,” she said. “I really like the team and just being around everybody.
“I’ll probably run every day. We’ll probably do a few different workouts” to get ready for the state championships.
Saranac Lake’s Gwen Mader (19:59.1) placed 13th, while teammate Madison Grimone (20:02.3) finished in 16th. Blue Bomber Sarah Rose-McCandlish just missed the top 20 with her 20:44 finish for 22nd.
Lake Placid’s Schulz said the state championship course in Wayne, outside of Rochester, doesn’t hold an advantage for the local kids since it’s relatively flat, while Saranac Lake and Lake Placid tend to excel on hillier courses. Schulz’s hopes are high for what will be his final high school cross country race.
“I’m super excited for it,” Schulz said. “The course definitely does not favor us. We’re best on hills and that course is mostly flat. So we’re definitely going to have to have our best day to have a good day.”
“We wanted to get a sectional title, so we’re really pleased with that,” Saranac Lake coach Bill Peer said. “I think we’ll be OK and we’re in the mix (at the NYSPHSAA state championships next Saturday).
“We’re going down there to compete. We’re going down there to get after it.”