"It’s always nice when the little guy beats the big bruisers,” said coach Rob Tuttle after his Skaneateles girls won the 45th annual McDaniel/Baxter cross country invitational Saturday at Chenango Valley, just north of Binghamton.
In a 20-team field that included teams from Pennsylvania, the Skaneateles girls tallied 77 points to edge large school powers Corning (78) and Ithaca (86) behind the efforts of Madeline Adams and Kaitlyn Neal.
Adams powered to a first mile split of 5:40 as she and eventual winner Maddie Zeitz of Windsor broke early from the field of 135 runners. Adams was a runner-up for her second straight meet as she covered the 3.1 mile course in 20:14 while Neal, a freshman, looked strong while taking 4th place in 20:27.
“With two front-runners like this, we’ll always be in contention,” said Tuttle. “But it takes more than two to win these things. Everyone is important, and it’s the team, not the individuals, that is our focus right now because we have a strong shot at taking a top-three spot at the state meet if things fall our way.”
Stepping up while the team competed in the Southern Tier without senior standouts Maggie Dunn and junior Morel Malcolm was the sophomore tandem of Liz Dwyer and Jennifer DeRosa.
Dwyer rebounded from a subpar race at East Syracuse-Minoa the previous week with a stunning turnaround while DeRosa once again held strong as the race progressed. Dwyer took 18th in 21:56 while DeRosa took 22nd in 22:14 in the 65-degree air.
“They staked a claim early in the race and held on to it,” said a pleased Tuttle.
Frosh Finan Malcolm showed some moxie in her first varsity race by taking 31st in 22:51, while Maria Schillace and Ginny Hamlin took 35th and 40th respectively.
The Lakers are ranked no. 2 in the state in Class C and will travel to Buffalo this weekend to compete in the East Aurora Invitational. Prior to that, they’ll race CBA at Green Lakes Wednesday.