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Neal leads Lakers to Marion Invitational title

Freshman sets another course record after clinching of league title

The Skaneateles girls cross country team celebrates its victory at last Saturday’s Marion Invitational near Rochester. Earlier in the week the Lakers, by beating Hannibal 18-43, clinched the OHSL Liberty division regular-season title and recorded its 17th undefeated season. In the last 23 years, Skaneateles has won the league title 18 times.

The Skaneateles girls cross country team celebrates its victory at last Saturday’s Marion Invitational near Rochester. Earlier in the week the Lakers, by beating Hannibal 18-43, clinched the OHSL Liberty division regular-season title and recorded its 17th undefeated season. In the last 23 years, Skaneateles has won the league title 18 times.

“My dad said to suck it up, and I did,” said Dunn, who felt better after a deep muscle massage of her lower back.

“She’s been a great and positive addition to the team,” said coach Rob Tuttle.

Finishing the scoring for the Lakers, who have won three invitationals this season, was Julia Willcox who worked to 15th place. The eighth-grader’s time was 22:32 even though she was a bit dehydrated on the windy course that traversed an apple orchard where rotting apples dotted the trails like shrapnel.

“I know what I have to do now, and it won’t happen again,” Willcox said while loosening a tight abdominal muscle.

“Julia’s a natural and she’s quickly discovering the little secrets that lead to success in cross country,” said Reed.

The Skaneateles boys placed sixth in a good effort while two of their scoring five were left behind to take their PSAT. The meet was won by Williamsville North, from the Section VI ranks.

Senior Ethan Johanns had a spirited sprint to the finish to close out a strong effort. He was clocked in 19:00 for 20th place. Frosh Chris Niebuhr was three places back in 19:15 as the undulating terrain took a toll on the varsity rookie.

“He’s more than holding his own and I think his future is bright,” said Reed.

Danny Sakal also won his battle to the finish against a few opponents who gave it everything down the stretch. The senior took 31st in 19:47. Taking 37th in 20:12 was improving junior Nick Smolenski, who is coming into his own.

“Society wants instant results, and in distance running on the boys side of things, it just isn’t like that,” said Reed. “You train, you prepare, you work some more, you might have to wait a few years for your time in the sun, but if you exercise patience and feed the dream, it happens.”

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