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Caz cross country girls finish fifth in NY state rankings

The Cazenovia Cross Country Lady Lakers pose in front of their 2010 championship sign with their recent 2011 Class C1 title added in, at left. The girls finished the season ranked No. 5 in New York.

The Cazenovia Cross Country Lady Lakers pose in front of their 2010 championship sign with their recent 2011 Class C1 title added in, at left. The girls finished the season ranked No. 5 in New York. Kurt Wheeler

— The Cazenovia varsity girls cross country team gathered on Nov. 10 to celebrate a successful season, including its second-consecutive Section III title and a final ranking of fifth in New York state among Class C teams. The Lady Lakers celebrated a host of both team and individual honors at their end-of-campaign banquet.

As a team, the 2011 edition of the Lakers’ squad was the most talented in school history — as measured by the combined speed rankings of the top five runners.

Jeanette Cudney topped the rankings with a 105 rating, the third fastest in school history. Michelle Karker was second at 99, a huge leap from her 2010 best of 84. Megan Stanford (91), Malone Gabor (88) and Margaret Wolsey (87) rounded out the record-setting top five. Their group strength, combined with the depth of sixth runner Rae Tobey and number-seven Logan Koennecke, propelled the Lakers to the Section III, Class C1 title on Nov. 5.

Even though they were blocked from advancing to states by a talented Tully squad, the Lakers’ powerful performance prompted the New York State Sportswriters Association to move Cazenovia up from sixth to fifth in the Class C rankings. The top five ranking is an indication of how the Lakers would have done at States if they could have advanced. Only No. 4 ranked Tully was allowed to move on to represent Section III.

The Lakers’ regular season performance was equally impressive as they posted a 7-1 record, losing only to the combined Ludden-Westhill squad, the eventual Section III, Class B Champions. The Lakers bested three other state-ranked teams (Marcellus, Skaneateles, CBA) to earn runner-up in the powerful Liberty Division.

The girls also celebrated numerous individual honors including four All-league selections. Jeanette Cudney and Michelle Karker both earned first team honors while Megan Stanford and Malone Gabor earned a spot on the second team. First year runner Megan Stanford earned the Lakers’ “Rookie of the Year” team award while Senior Captain Michelle Karker was honored as the team’s “Most Improved Runner.”

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