By a small span, Marcellus girls cross country senior Rachel Garn missed out on a state Class C championship, but she, along with Jordan-Elbridge’s Abby Gugel, still gave superb efforts during Saturday’s state meet at Queensbury High School, in the shadow of the Adirondacks.
Garn knew that, as the Class C race got underway, the key to any sort of success was staying with Skaneateles sophomore Kaitlyn Neal, the state’s top-ranked runner going into the state meet.
For the most part, Garn stuck to that plan, keeping Neal in her sights, but unable to match her pace as they both found themselves chasing Onteora’s Julia Rubin-Armstrong to the finish line.
Garn posted a time of 18 minutes, 34.7 seconds, which would put her in third place out of 130 runners. Neal was second, in 18:26.3, less than four seconds from a state title as Rubin-Armstrong beat both of them with her time of 18:22.4.
And just behind them was Gugel, who like Garn was part of a strong group of Section III All-Stars that would help the section claim a second-place finish with 335 points, behind Section I (214 points), when all the scores were tallied.
Just beating the 19-minute mark, Gugel finished in 18:59.4, putting her in seventh place, behind Garn, but ahead of most of the field. Cazenovia’s Jeannette Cudney was 15th in 19:10 flat, with Phoenix’s Haylie Virgnia (29th, 19:37.3) and CBA’s Megan Ann Pierce (47th, 20:01.2) close behind.
Up in Class A, the Section III team did win, holding off Section V, 265 points to 296, with Fayetteville-Manlius sweeping the boys and girls Class A state titles and West Genesee’s Laura Leff part of the winning effort, too.
Leff finished in 18 minutes, 27.1 seconds, putting her in 21st place, just behind Liverpool’s Abby McNamara (18th, 18:20.3), but ahead of McNamara’s Warrior teammate, Morgan Mahoney (19:26.1), with Cicero-North Syracuse’s Jacqlynn Halstead (19:29.3) and Baldwinsville’s Marissa Lathrop (19:47.3) also running well.