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SL boys, girls top LP to finish unbeaten

Red Storm’s Catania, Blue Bombers’ Rose-McCandlish claim wins in season finale

Saranac Lake runners Peter Fogarty, left, and James Catania race to the finish line, taking the top two spots for the boys in a Nov. 7 meet at Lake Placid. (Provided photo — Rachel Sharples)

LAKE PLACID — Fans gathered at Mount Van Hoevenburg on Saturday to support the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake cross country teams, and specifically their seniors, in their last regular season cross country meet to close out an extremely irregular season. Both teams received the cheers of champions, but ultimately the Saranac Lake powerhouse swept the meet with wins of 20-41 for the girls and 15-48 for the boys.

The Red Storm dominated the top spots for both the boys and girls, with a few Blue Bomber runners shaking up the order. Within one second of each other, Saranac Lake boys James Catania (17:16) and Peter Fogarty (17:17) finished first and second, respectively. On the girls side, Lake Placid’s Annie Rose-McCandlish cinched number one with a time of 24 minutes, 13 seconds.

Saranac Lake’s boys controlled the top ranks through sixth place, with strong runs from Andrew Fogarty (17:30), Micah McCulley (17:41), Sam Ash (17:51), and Tucker Jakobe (18:24). Lake Placid’s Andrew Scanio ran into the seventh position with a time of 19:12, and his fellow Blue Bomber Max Flanigan took eighth (19:51).  

Although Lake Placid took the top spot for the girls, Saranac Lake took the next six. Leading runners included Gwen Mader (24:17), Megan Wilson (24:53), Grace Glasscock (25:01), Sabine Denkenberger (25:27), and Bella Wissler (25:50). Lake Placid’s Ellen Lansing took seventh (26:33). 

As the last meet of the regular season, the teams took time to recognize their seniors, with the three Lake Placid seniors receiving small gift bags. The Blue Bombers also showed they were gracious hosts, giving the Saranac Lake team a plaque to commemorate its accomplishments. Had the coronavirus pandemic not taken place, the Red Storm’s boys could have been well on their way to a third-straight Class C state championship season.

Lake Placid's Annie Rose-McCandlish races to the finish line in Saturday's meet. She took the top spot for the girls. (Rachel Sharples photo)

Lake Placid Coach Mel Frazer noted that although her team didn’t have much of a shot at winning, her runners entered their final meet of the season with spirit and performed well.

“They did great,” she said. “They knew they were going to take the loss, but they like running with Saranac Lake and against them, and I think they embraced it and did good.”

Frazer mentioned some of the standout performances from the team, including Rose-McCandlish taking the girls win and Scanio and Flanigan accomplishing the boys’ goal of simply breaking up the top seven. 

With the season coming to a close, she reflected on the team’s overall performance in the midst of an abnormal situation.

“With no championship season, the motivation piece, at first I was like, ‘The kids aren’t going to be motivated,'” Frazer said. “But they have worked hard and treated it like any other season. So I’ve been proud of them for that. The kids — they still stayed dedicated and finished it. And we’re just thankful we were able to have five meets and we’re still going.”

From the left, Sam Madden, Aiden Hesseltine and Caleb Shoemaker run for Saranac Lake during Saturday’s meet against Lake Placid at Mount Van Hoevenberg. (Rachel Sharples photo)

Two of Lake Placid’s three seniors, Evan Brenner and Zack Gavin, have been on the Blue Bombers team “forever,” and although it was only his first season, Jack Lawrence turned out to be one of the top runners. Frazer said it was very hard to see the season end for them.

“But they’re all great boys and they’ll do great things,” she added.

Saranac Lake’s boys and girls both finished their abbreviated seasons with 4-0 records.

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