Skaneateles Her hip was tight and the coach’s thoughts sped toward Kaitlyn Neal’s summer-long injury like a dart zeroes in on the corkboard target.
But when the 3.1-mile course was finished, the diminutive Skaneateles girls cross country freshman had set such a blistering pace that Rachel Garn’s course record had been surpassed.
Neal ran with the Cazenovia tandem of Jeanette Cudney and Megan Stanford for the first mile in last Tuesday's OHSL Liberty division meet at the Polo Grounds, but when the Laker frosh emerged from the woods at the two mile mark in 12:22, she was all alone and the hunt was on.
As she approached the chute--in the Skaneateles thrashing of the no. 6-ranked Class C team in the state -- Neal was confident and flying.
Her time of 18 minutes, 37.5 seconds beat the time of Garn, the great Marcellus runner by a second and a half. Neal blasted her previous best time by more than two minutes.
Skaneateles, despite strong showings throughout the season, has inexplicably dropped from no. 2 to no. 4 in the state Class C rankings, but the 23-35 win in this battle of Lakers teams was convincing in every way as Skaneateles recorded the fastest average time per runner for the top five girls by a whopping 28 seconds per runner.
Running her best time on the course was Maggie Dunn who took third place in 19:44 as the senior veteran ran an aggressive pace that never relented. Her time improved in a week by 1:24.
Madeline Adams successfully returned to action after missing the past three weeks and ran a gutsy time of 20:02 to place fifth and send a message to her central New York competitors that her season would not end because of an injury.
Liz Dwyer roared to a personal best on her home course at the Polo Grounds course. The sophomore placed sixth in 20:09 while beating her previous best time by a whopping 1:18.