The steady, yet constant improvement shown by the Skaneateles boys cross country team culminated in a victory of sorts during Wednesday’s Onondaga High School League Liberty division championship race at Liverpool’s Long Branch Park.
Overall, the Lakers had 121 points to tie Jordan-Elbridge for third place as Chittenango (95 points) edged Marcellus (96 points) for the top spot. But an adjustment of points meant that Skaneateles won among those teams from the OHSL Liberty National division.
Senior Luke Rathgeb led the Lakers as she claimed fifth place in 17 minutes, 28.5 seconds, not far from the winning 17:07.3 posted by Homer’s Grant Stokoe, who held off Marcellus’ Joe Riccardi (17:09.4) to win.
Joe Norris finished 21st in 18:15.2, just ahead of fellow freshman Caleb Bender, who got 22nd place in 18:19.5. Norris and Bender earned second-team All-League honors behind Rathgeb, a first-team selection.
Nate Azzam made his way to 29th place in 18:45.6, with Matt Persampieri getting 44th place in 19:09.1. Nick Paciorek took 56th place in 19:19.1 ahead of Tyler Lewis (19:41.4) in 69th place. Chris Burgher (13:02.8) and Will Swarts (23:06.4) were further back.
In the girls OHSL Liberty meet, Skaneateles finished seventh out of 10 sides, with 145 points. State Class C no. 1-ranked Christian Brothers Academy won with 19 points, with five of the top seven finishers, including Olivia Morganti, who won in 19:52.2.
Natalie Condon led the Lakers’ individuals, the senior getting 12th place in 21:29 flat. Sophomore Elyse Ossum finished 19th in 22:12.5. Georgia McSwain got 27th place in 22:49.2, while Hope Cross-Jaya was 38th in 24:11.6 and Nicole DeRosa was 55th in 25:54.3.
Each of the Skaneateles sides would compete again Saturday in the Chittenango Invitational, where the boys Lakers finished third in the six-team Varsity Race 1 with 50 points behind Hannibal (36 points) and Port Byron (47 points).
Rathgeb tore to a time of 17:30.1 and finished third behind Hannibal teammates Ben Dennison (17:07.0) and Patrick Hall (17:25.6), while Norris was 10th in 17:46 flat. Norris beat out Bender, who was 11th in 18:05.7 as Azzam got 15th place in 18:36.2, with Persampieri 19th in 19:16.5 and Paciorek taking 21st place in 19:34.4.
Of the six girls teams in Varsity Race 1, Skaneateles finished fourth, led by Osum, who made her way to 12th place in 21:43.3. McSwain was 15th in 22:14.4 as Condon was 16th in 22:22 flat. Cross-Jaya got 20th place in 22:49 flat as DeRosa (24:17.0) gained 27th place.