Great job, runners and coaches
Snow ended the season suddenly for the Saranac Lake High School’s boys cross country team. The Federation meet in Wappingers Falls this weekend was canceled due to a snowstorm, denying the Class C state champions a chance to test their mettle against the biggest schools in the state — including New York City public high schools and private schools that recruit heavily.
Winning would have been extremely unlikely, but they might have made an impressive showing. Now, instead, they have to settle for a perfect, undefeated season.
It was also snowing in Saranac Lake Friday — we got roughly a foot — and classes were canceled. So you’d think these boys might have soothed their disappointment with a snowball fight, or by staying in and playing video games.
Yet one of our reporters photographed them running around the village, same as always — their red team jackets cutting a striking image against the dark and white background, like cardinals flying through one’s yard.
They’re runners at heart, and it’s pretty cool to see.
This Red Storm team has been a model of consistency all season, thanks to a combination of great coaches and talented, hard-working athletes. We saw them jogging around the village all summer, and throughout the fall they followed a routine training regimen that would make other athletes gasp.
SLHS is normally good in cross country, but the last time its team won a state championship was 1995. That team’s lead runners were Zach Handler and Matt Dougherty, and it also had then-freshman Billy Demong, who would eventually compete in five Winter Olympics as a nordic combined skier and win two medals: an individual gold and a team silver.
Tom Kilroy, who coached that team, followed this year’s team closely and told us it’s better than his ’95 team. Not only did it do better in the state meet, but Kilroy made an apples-to-apples comparison of this team’s times at the sectional finals in Elizabethtown with how his runners did in ’95 on the same course. This team’s runners were faster, he said.
And this year’s team is largely sophomores, so they’ll be strong in future years as well.
After all that, we suppose we ought to get around to stating the obvious: We are bursting with pride for the Red Storm runners’ state championship. Not only do they run fast, they do it with class.
(Correction: An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly said the 1995 SLHS cross country team held “the only state title in the school’s athletic history” prior to this year. In fact, others include the 2008 and 2015 girls alpine ski teams. The Enterprise regrets the error.)