This week was different, according to Skaneateles girls cross country coach Rob Tuttle after his team raced to victory at the Chittenango Invitational Saturday at Jamesville Beach Park.
“The girls were aggressive from the start," said Tuttle. "From front to back they competed hard in the middle mile and then they rallied into the finish chute. Yeah, we saw our real team this week.”
While the team earned a big victory over Cicero-North Syracuse (the 14th ranked Class A school in New York) in the first of three varsity races on the course where they will hold the Section III championships later this fall, it was in the merge results where the Class C Lakers really stood out.
In the three-race merge, only Liverpool- ranked fourth in the state in Class A - could edge Skaneateles. And the Warriors did it,by a tally of 91-134.
“That was impressive,” said Tuttle. “Liverpool has been talked about as a potential finalist for the Nike race (Cross Nationals) in Oregon this December. We ran well, but we have much more we expect to gain as a few medical issues get ironed out.”
Equally impressive, in the total field of 44 teams and 499 runners, was seeing Laker sophomore Kaitlyn Neal finish in front of everyone on a cloudy, drizzly day.
By all reports, Neal was flying through the course with CBA’s Megan Pierce until Neal broke the junior with about a mile remaining on the hilly 3.1 mile layout and clocked a new course record with her time of 19 minutes, 6.4 seconds.
“Kaitlyn just never relented,” said Tuttle. “She has never looked stronger or more confident.”
As co-coach Jack Reed walked to the finish area, a C-NS coach praised the Laker pack of Julia Willcox, Madeline Adams, Liz Dwyer, Morel Malcolm and Elsa Soderberg. Again, at the finish line, the head official told Reed that the pack was incredibly strong.