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Optimism joins runners at cross country boot camp

Skaneateles runners return with high 2011 expectations

— The sun emerges from behind the eastern hills as summer’s song birds take flight to southern climates.

Commuters make their way to cubicles in central city Syracuse as prognosticators talk football on theradio, and the distance runners of Skaneateles hit the streets after a summer of long runs designed to develop their base for the upcoming season, which opens at Newark High this Thursday in the Wayne-Finger Lakes Coaches’ Early Season Scramble.

“We like this mid-week race,” says 10-year veteran coach Rob Tuttle. “It’s the only chance the younger kids get to race their own age. And it’s low-key, non-scoring. But you know coach (Jack) Reed will tally the results before we’re halfway home.”

Boasting nearly 10 student-athletes who logged more than 300 miles during the summer recess, the coaches are feeling more optimistic despite a rash of nagging injuries that seemed to abate somewhat at the end of their two-week boot camp.

After running a strong 8.5 miler last Wednesday, the team bore no lingering reminders on Thursday when they were crisp, sharp, light-footed and pushing hard on the track, according to the coaching staff.

“We were surprised with how things suddenly came together,” said Reed, who is entering his 25th season at the helm. “It just suddenly looked like they’d begun to harvest their summer work, and we looked good.”

With no seniors, the boys will look to a group of juniors to lead the way. In the mix to make the varsity seven are rookie junior Matt Clymer and classmates Matt Delasin, Ethan Johanns and Danny Sakal.

Top sophomores to be reckoned with are Patrick Biver, Nick Smolenski and rookie Ryan Terhune. The lone freshman, Cooper Watt, has shown his athletic talent and is making progress on his conditioning.

“We hope to win a few in league competition this year, but, seriously, we may be a year away," said Reed. "I hope they prove me wrong. It takes time to learn to win. But I think we’re on our way."

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