Red Storm boys, girls win XC opener
SARANAC LAKE — With no opportunity to win any high school postseason titles, including what could have been a possible third-straight state championship, you might think it would be hard to motivate runners on the Saranac Lake boys cross country team this fall.
But that’s certainly not the case, as the veteran Red Storm boys opened the season Saturday with a 15-47 victory over visiting Boquet Valley-Moriah on the trails at the Dewey Mountain Recreation Center.
With every scoring runner returning from last fall’s squad that captured its second straight New York Class C championship, the Red Storm was more than impressive on the hilly course at Dewey. Saranac Lake grabbed the top six places, and every runner in the group finished within 40 seconds of each other.
Peter Fogarty led the way, winning the race in 16 minutes and 24 seconds. Micah McCulley was runner-up in 16:33 and James Catania rounded out the top three with a 16:47 result. Tucker Jakobe was fourth in 16:53, Andrew Fogarty finished fifth in 16:53 and Sam Ash placed sixth in 17:04.
Andrew Fogarty, one of five seniors who has earned two state titles with the Red Storm, said he was just excited to be out competing again.
“After not running for so long and not racing, I was ready to go,” he said. “We’re just trying to keep it regular. We never know if we’re going to have the rest of the season because it could get shut down at any point, but we’re training like we did last year — going to the end I guess.
“This is awesome,” Andrew Fogarty continued. “The mindset this year is, ‘It’s not really about running, it’s about staying healthy. In order to run, everybody has to be healthy. First, it’s about staying healthy and then sticking to the old routine because we want to run like last year. We don’t have as many opportunities but we’re going to train like it’s still a championship year because that’s what kind of team were are. We work hard.”
McCulley, a senior, was just as thrilled to be be out on the trails in his final season of Saranac Lake cross country.
“I think we’re all just really happy to run with each other again as far as competing,” McCulley said. “We had some low-key time trials but there’s nothing that beats racing at Dewey. I think it was just that we haven’t been able to do something like this for six months probably. We tried to keep it just like any other race. We were really happy to be back.”
Runners from Boquet Valley-Moriah took seventh through ninth place, and Emery Tausinger paced the trio, finishing seventh in 18:41. Denali Garnica was next in 18:54 and Cole Simmer followed in ninth place in 19:02. Saranac Lake’s Justin Duprey rounded out the top-10 with a 19:20 result.
“I just said to them, ‘Light it up,'” Red Storm coach Bill Peer said. “They got after it, that’s for sure.
“It’s been an honor working with these kids,” Peer continued. This is a once-in a career team. I’ll never have a group like this again. Really right now, they’re trying to get some races in so they can get looked at by colleges. Just trying to create that opportunity, that’s been a bit of a focus for us.”
Saranac Lake’s girls also claimed an uncontested victory in their season-opener against an incomplete Boquet Valley-Moriah team that had just two runners. One of those visiting runners, however, did come through with the win as Sophia McKeirnan crossed the line first in 21:38 for her second victory in as many races. McKeirnan also triumphed on Oct. 10 in Lake Placid.
Bella Wissler was Saranac Lake’s top runner, finishing second in 23:28. The Red Storm then took the next seven spots, with Sabine Denkenberger leading the group with a third-place showing in 23:52. Megan Wilson was fourth in 24:03 and Gwen Mader placed fifth in 24:16. Grace Glasslock, Sara Trabakoulos, Nellie Aaron and Kairyn Yando took sixth through ninth place, respectively. Sydney Glebus placed 10th for Boquet Valley-Moriah.
Saranac Lake’s runners have three more Section VII meets on tap, starting with a road trip Saturday against Saranac Central. That meet will take place at the Cadyville Recreation Park.