Skaneateles Numbering 20-strong, the Skaneateles boys cross country team is dominated by eight seniors and it’ll be up to them to determine the fate of the team and the memories created this coming fall.
“We have talent,” said coach Rob Tuttle. "And in workouts we’re moving pretty well. If the boys can transfer the poise and momentum from practice to racing, we’ll be a better team this year.”
The last Laker league title was in 2002. “We’re better than our record over this past decade and we’ll see if we can begin to turn it around this year. Some of these guys really want it," said Tuttle.
Forming the nucleus of the squad are seniors Matt Clymer, Matt Delasin, Danny Sakal, Ethan Johanns and junior Ryan Terhune, sophomore Cooper Watt and Nick Smolenski. Pushing them for a varsity spot will be freshmen Chris Niebuhr and Dominic Grasso, who have worked hard to make the grade in practice.
Those seniors improved in track and were a strong 4x800 relay team by the end of the season. The staff says that the key ingredient for the team will be the mileage they can drive into their legs this fall.
“We didn’t see many of the boys this summer so we’re still trying to assess their fitness while giving them the right training two or three days a week,” said Tuttle. “We base training off fitness levels so these first two weeks of 'Boot Camp' have been focused on trying to get a handle on what the boys have in their engines at this point.
" Lately, they’ve looked pretty good so I think we’re making progress. I’ll tell you, they pass the eye test. They just look like distance runners so they probably have genes on their side.”
Skaneateles will open next Saturday morning at the 21st annual East Syracuse-Minoa Invitational. What are the coaches looking for?
“Determination and a sense of pace early, toughness and a desire to mix it up in the middle,” said Tuttle. “We want to see them fighting to move up or hold their spots as they close in on the finish.
"They’re good boys, they’re working hard and we want them to experience some success before they move on with their lives.”