Optimism runs deep among Tupper runners

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

TUPPER LAKE — A young Tupper Lake girls cross country running team has high hopes for the season, and the boys have big dreams of their own.

Led by veteran coach and Ironman world champion triathlete Amy Farrell, the Lumberjacks lost use of their home course this year due to a capital project at L.P. Quinn Elementary School. But despite the lack of a homefield advantage, Farrell sees a lot of promise in her young teams.

“We have most of our kids back from our team that won sectionals in Class B,” she said. “Some of our older kids are still working, so we haven’t had everybody together yet, but it’s a fun group and our modified kids are keeping right up with our varsity kids.”

Team leader Tess Klossner graduated in the spring, but Farrell said other kids are stepping in to fill that role.

“Right now we only have two varsity girls,” she said. “But they’re both very good leaders and helpful with the modified kids.

“It’s nice because we have a nice little group. Everyone’s involved. They all get along and help each other, so it’s not like the modified kids are distanced from the varsity.”

Even the two girls on varsity are young, with junior Kasandra Sipler and sophomore Sandra Kwasniak stepping in to fill the role of team leaders.

“It’s hard because she (Klossner) was kind of the person that everyone looked up to,” Sipler said. “But now that person seems to be me because I’m the oldest and been around the longest.”

Klossner, Sipler and Kwasniak each made it to the NYSPHSAA meet near Binghamton last fall as individual runners, and Kwasniak wants to make that trip again this fall.

“I want to get into states, but I also want to place fairly decent in states,” she said. “Because last year was my first year, so now I just want to shoot a little bit higher.”

Due to a general lack of athletes, several Tupper Lake sports, including cross country, lack a junior varsity team and only have modified and varsity competitions.

But the lack of a development team isn’t stopping Farrell from seeking another boys sectional title.

“I’d like to see that,” she said. “We’ll know more when everyone is off work and they’re back running together. But they’re running well as a group. We’ll see what they’ve got.”