Blue Bombers reload after successful season

Lake Placid cross country (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid boys cross-country team finished second in the state last year, and some returning youngsters are hopeful they can step up to help repeat that success.

With just two seniors and a junior returning on the boys side, coach Mel Frazer is optimistic about her team’s chances this year, and perhaps even more bullish about the team’s standing in the years to come.

“We lost some key people for the boys, but I have some new runners,” Frazer said. “I can kind of guess my top five, but then to know who’s going to have spots six and seven, I could go back 10 runners and it will probably depend on who has a good race, which is awesome.”

Frazer said the girls team also looks strong, but faces some stiff competition from other schools. Frazer thinks a few of her girls will go to the NYSPHSAA Class D championship meet as individuals.

Frazer said several of the kids on the team involved with New York Ski Educational Foundation winter sports programs, and that she will coordinate with the NYSEF coaching staff on training schedules.

Due to the young age of the Blue Bombers, some underclassmen will have an opportunity to take on leadership roles. Freshman Marli Damp and sophomore James Flanigan each have a few years of varsity cross country running under their belts and are looking forward to another successful season.

“I’m pretty excited for this year because I’ve grown a lot since last year, so I think I’ll see a difference in my times,” Flanigan said. “We had a lot of older, faster guys last year, so I’m going to have to move up and take some of those positions back. I gotta make up for losing those guys, so it’s a little pressure but I think it’s good for me.”

Damp, who ran spring track as a seventh-grader and varsity cross country last year as an eighth-grader, said taking on a leadership role so young is both challenging and rewarding.

“I think we’re going to be pretty good,” Damp said. “I just want to be a good example for everyone on the team by finishing my workouts and just putting effort into it and being as positive as possible.

“I don’t mind being one of the leaders since I’m so young.”

Damp also competes on the NYSEF ski team, and is taking care not to do too much too fast.

“I’m just making sure I don’t burn myself out early,” she said. “Running is pretty much cross training for me, but I still love it and I’m just making sure I don’t go too hard too early and then by the time I’m a senior be slow and run-down.”

With last year’s strong showing at the state championships, Frazer said the boys team is ranked higher statewide than in years past.

“Right now we’re ranked sixth in the state, which is higher than what we ranked last year going in, and we ended up second by three little points,” Frazer said. “It’s hard because a lot of the other teams didn’t really have any graduating seniors, but when you look at the lineup this year, a lot of them have three to four seniors.

“So since we’re young, I think this year they’ll do great still and keep Lake Placid up there,” she said. “They’re motivated, so that’s good.”