Coaches wouldn't ordinarily consider a ninth-place finish to be good news, but the coaches of the Skaneateles girls cross country team saw potential being realized at last weekend's Chittenango Invitational at Jamesville Beach State Park.
"We know (our) number one girl, Maddy Adams, was ill, so that cost us a lot of points," said coach Rob Tuttle, who also mentioned that the rookie kept her illness a secret until after the race. "And we know that the girls are improving noticeably. We'll be in the game by the end of the season."
With the eighth-grader Adams taking 45th (22:39.1) in the field of 102 runners from 16 schools in the Division I race, Blair Gage took over and led the charge to the finish with a strong 34th place finish in 21:53.2 for the 3.1 mile hilly layout. She was 31 seconds faster than last year.
Right behind junior team leader Gage was sophomore Courtney Pitman, in 44th with a clocking of 22:36.3, which surpassed her times from last year on the same course.
Then, with Adams in 45th, the Laker pack entered the finish chute. Junior Elyce Buell improved from last year by 40 seconds as she placed 46th in 22:41.4. Vastly-improved freshman rookie Ellis Van Slyke was 48th with a time of 22:45.6 as sophomore Shannon Byrne was just five seconds back in 50th (22:50.7) as she shows a lot of grit and competitive desire.
On the boys side, Calvin Davis looked like a happy camper as he ran the rugged Jamesville Beach course last weekend in a personal best time of 16:20.7. His best career time had been 16:57 on the 3.1-mile layout.
The Skaneateles senior took fifth in Division I on a course that had taken his best shots and spit them out in the past. The only other varsity runner was Sam Kriever who placed 45th in 18:53.5, which was 37 seconds better than last year.
The remainder of the team ran in the junior varsity race -- but everyone will line up this Wednesday in a league dual with Marcellus and Solvay at the Mustang course that features the rugged and hilly "M" behind the high school.