Members of the Cazenovia Lakers girls varsity cross country team gathered for their team dinner on Nov. 17 to celebrate the most successful season in the program's history. There was much to celebrate by season's end, with the team achieving a series of "firsts" and establishing new records in nearly every category.
The team swept through their regular season schedule, achieving a perfect 7-0 undefeated record in league contests, no small feat in the highly competitive Liberty Division of the Onondaga High School League which saw five of its eight teams state-ranked over the course of the season. The harrier's league championship was its first ever in the OHSL and the first title of any type since a 1982 Tri-Valley League Championship. The Lakers were also highly successful at multi-school meets, winning its first small schools title among 30 competitors at the Baldwinsville Invitational and placing first among all Class B schools at the Chittenango, VVS and ES-M Invitationals as well as the OHSL Championship Meet. Cazenovia also won its second consecutive Madison County Championship with an exceptional performance that saw the Lakers claim nine of the first ten places. The team enjoyed its greatest depth in program history with thirteen members of the squad ranked on the Sectional Leader Board by season's end, including five girls with a speed rating over 80. Six members of the team achieved sub-six minute miles during the season. The team capitalized on that depth and talent to win its first Section III title. Earning its first trip to the State Championship, the Lady Lakers outperformed their pre-race rankings to finish third in the state. The girls were equally effective in the classroom, earning scholar-athlete status with a team average of over 95 percent.
The squad also recognized numerous teammates for individual achievements, including an all-time record seven harriers who earned All-League status. Rae Tobey, Hollie Marcelle and Jeanette Cudney led the way with 1st team honors while Malone Gabor, Michelle Karker, Margaret Wolsey and Emma Wolsey all made the 2nd team. Eleven members of the team earned individual scholar-athlete awards as the squad epitomized the meaning of the program with its top six runners achieving six of the team's top seven scores. Senior Captain Hollie Marcelle was honored with the prestigious "Career Contribution Award" while Junior Rae Tobey earned the "Most Valuable Runner" plaque and Freshman Jeanette Cudney earned "Rookie of the Year" honors. Co-Captain Alex Dolbear and fellow senior Rachel Grimm were recognized for their leadership and dedication to the program while first-year Senior Grace Eberle earned praise for her perseverance and determination. Despite the loss of the four seniors, the Lakers look forward to another exceptional season in 2011 with 12 returning runners, including six of their top seven from this fall's historic campaign.
Kurt Wheeler coaches the Cazenovia girls cross country team.