With good turf beneath their colorful, spiked shoes and no wind to ruffle rookie feathers, the Skaneateles cross country team opened the 2009 season Saturday at the Central Square Invitational.
The girls Lakers grabbed fifth place behind the 1-2 punch of large school powers West Genesee and Cicero-North Syracuse. The boys ran incomplete.
Madeline Adams led the way in her first varsity race as the eighth-grader rallied steadily over the final mile to take 11th place in the 3.1 mile race that was held on the Central Square campus course. Adams' time was 22 minutes, 19 seconds.
Junior Blair Gage improved upon last year's time as she took 31st (23:37), while sophomore Courtney Pitman recovered from a mid-race slump to take 36th place in 23:55.
Rookie freshman Ellis Van Slyke got her very first race under her belt as she led a three-pack by taking 42nd in 24:22. Right behind in 43rd (24:40) and and 44th (24:43) were rookie sophomore Shannon Byrne and junior Danielle Mazzeo. Finishing in 61st, with a marvelous improvement of 2:31 from last year, was junior Emily Cosbar.
According to coach Rob Tuttle, the team is positioned to show strong improvement over the course of the season that will end on Nov. 7 at the Section III Championships at Jamesville Beach State Park.
The Skaneateles girls are the defending league Onondaga High School League Liberty champions and have won the title 17 of the previous 19 seasons, including a streak of 14 straight
For the boys, it was a pair of ninth-grades leading the way with Danny Wolfanger in 76th place (22:02) and Michael Card (22:17) in 78th. Taking 87th was junior John Watt III in a time of 22:50.
The Lakers will compete in the Chittenango Invitational this Saturday at Jamesville Beach before OHSL Liberty division meets start Sept. 23 against Marcellus and Solvay.