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Neal wins again at OHSL championships

Skaneateles freshman continues late-season surge

Skaneateles girls cross country freshman Kaitlyn Neal, cheered on by her father, comes home in first place in Wednesday’s OHSL Liberty division championship meet at Jamesville Beach Park. Neal finished in a time of 19 minutes, 15.6 seconds.

Skaneateles girls cross country freshman Kaitlyn Neal, cheered on by her father, comes home in first place in Wednesday’s OHSL Liberty division championship meet at Jamesville Beach Park. Neal finished in a time of 19 minutes, 15.6 seconds. Pete Davis

— All through October, Skaneateles girls cross country runner Kaitlyn Neal has managed to dazzle both her teammates and the competition, winning races and sending course records.

The freshman would strike again in Wednesday’s Onondaga High School League Liberty division championship meet at Jamesville Beach Park, beating a field of 81 other runners.

Neal steadily pulled away from Jordan-Elbridge’s Abby Gugel and made it to the line in 19 minutes, 15.6 seconds, more than 12 seconds ahead of Gugel.

That also helped Skaneateles to a second-place finish among the OHSL Liberty teams, with 60 points, trailing only Westhill/Bishop Ludden, who prevailed with 47 points.

Still making her way back from an early-season injury, Madeline Adams finished eighth, in 20:02.2. Liz Dwyer got to 15th place in 20:56.9, exactly one second ahead of teammate Maggie Dunn in 17th place, while Morel Malcolm was 20th in 21:07.1. Jennifer DeRosa got to 24th place in 21:32.3 and Julia Willcox was 29th in 21:52.4.

Meanwhile, in the boys OHSL Liberty race Skaneateles had 185 points, settling for eighth place among 10 sides as Westhill/Ludden (46 points) won here, too.

Cooper Watt led the Lakers’ push, the sophomore getting to 14th place in 17 minutes, 46.7 seconds. Chris Niebuhr was 31st, in 18:35.5, while Danny Sakal was 47th in 19:08.2. Ethan Johanns (19:12.1) was two spots behind Sakal as Patrick Biver (19:25.3) and Nick Smolenski (19:27.3) also finished close to each other.

Neal and her Skaneateles mates will be one of the favorites on the girls side for Saturday’s Section III Class C championship meet at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill, site of last year’ state meet. The top team and individuals advance to the 2012 state championships, this time set for Elma Meadows, near Buffalo.

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