VERONA – A quartet of area cross country runners – three from Liverpool and one from Cicero-North Syracuse – would make their way back to Vernon-Verona-Sherrill one more time in the 2023 season.
The occasion was last Saturday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A championships, where the girls race featured the Warriors’ junior duo of Taylor Page and Kaitlyn Hotaling, along with Northstars eighth-grader Kennedy Jones making her state meet debut.
As it turned out, no Section III girls runner would top Page, not even the vaunted Fayetteville-Manlius group who would have no one faster than a 28th-place finish on their way to third in the team event behind Saratoga Springs and Northport.
Page, meanwhile, would traverse the VVS course in 19 minutes, 18.7 seconds, finishing 19th and, in an impressive manner, improve on her 19:25.9 from the sectional meet on this same course a week earlier.
Hotaling ran well, too, getting to 32nd place in 19:41.4, which also beat her sectional clocking of 19:46.2 as Jones also broke the 20-minute mark, finishing 43rd in 19:56.6.
Section III was fourth in the team event as the All-Stars would see Baldwinsville’s Kamryn Barton gain 30th place in 19:36 flat and Auburn’s Mary Alice Pineau finish 37th in 19:46.9. Saratoga Springs’ Emily Bush won the individual state title in 17:34.3.
Meanwhile, Liverpool senior Brady Ruediger hoped for a strong finish in the boys state Class A race after finishing third in the sectional Class A meet at VVS a week earlier.
Chasing course record-holding Fayetteville-Manlius senior Nolan McGinn, Ruediger was pretty strong, too, eventually making his way to 22nd place in 16:30.4, nearly equaling Page’s finish in the girls race.
McGinn would win the individual state title in 15:48.7, off his course record but still enough to beat Smithtown North’s Douglas Antaky (15:56.0) at the line.
Ruediger, along with McGinn and Auburn’s team that finished third, helped Section III to a third-place team finish. Ruediger was second among the sectional All-Stars, ahead of Baldwinsville’s Noah Covert (45th, 16:58.2) and Ryan Wilson (76th, 17:30.9) along with Central Square’s Charles Raymond (60th, 17:06.6).