Baldwinsville Mother Nature’s strong southerly winds held back the predicted downpour but nothing could hold back the brutal attack of the Skaneateles girls cross country team at Saturday's 62nd Annual Baldwinsville Invitational.
And nothing could slow down Laker sophomore Kaitlyn Neal as she recorded her second invitational title in three tries this season, a week after prevailing in the Chittenango Invitational Sept. 14 at Jamesvlile Beach Park.
As a team, the state Class C no. 2-ranked Lakers also garnered its second invitational title of the season, picking up 66 points in the Small School race as Cazenovia, with 100 points, was second in the 25-team field.
Running uncontested after breaking the field early in the 2.95 mile race, Neal, the state's top-ranked Class C runner flirted with the elusive sub-18 finish time while a slew of Laker teammates had breakthrough races right behind her.
All by herself, Neal entered the finish chute with a clocking of 18 minutes, 2.4 seconds. Her time easily held up as the fastest time of the day after the Large School powers tried, and failed, to beat her eye-opening time, with Jamesville-DeWitt's Rachel Fairbanks winning that Large School race in 18:09.7.
Impressing everyone, junior Liz Dwyer had the breakthrough race that her coaches predicted was coming. Running with unbridled passion, Dwyer rocketed to 10th in the 200-runner field in a fast 19:10.6 as she took her place on the big stage of New York State running.
“Liz has been working awfully hard to get to this point," said co-head coach Jack Reed. "She’s just grown a lot in this sport. We knew it was coming. Her energy systems finally differentiated, they finally developed. I remember last spring telling her that the big time was close. And bang, she did it today.
Elsa Soderberg also exploded onto the state running scene with her 17th-place finish in 19:51.6.