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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

TRI-VALLEY’S HEATHER IATAURO, left, and Liberty’s Matt Manzi display the first place trophies they captured in the varsity races at last weekend’s T-V Invitational cross country meet.

Season Begins

By Ted Waddell
GRAHAMSVILLE — September 6, 2002 – The 21st annual Tri-Valley Invitational Cross Country meet was held on Saturday, August 31 at Tri-Valley Central School.
According to T-V Athletic Director Joe Iatauro, it was the first cross country meet of the 2002 season in New York State.
Participating schools included: Argyle, Delaware Valley (Pa.), Eldred, Livingston Manor, Liberty, Minisink Valley, Monticello, Pine Bush, Spackenkill, Tri-Valley and Washingtonville.
The invitational was divided into four different categories: club boys and girls, freshmen boys/girls, varsity boys/girls, and JV boys/girls.
The club races were held on a 1.5 mile-long course, freshmen/JV over a 2-mile course and varsity athletes competed on a 3.1 mile section covering terrain including hill and dale.
Heather Iatauro took top honors in the varsity girls’ race with a time of 19:09.9. Caitlin Lane and Hanna Davidson of Argyle finished second and third, respectively, with times of 19:44.1 and 20.26.6.
In boys’ varsity race, Matt Manzi of Liberty finished first at 17:37.8. Andrew Jezik of Washingtonville came in second with a time of 17:50.1 and in third place was Delaware Valley’s Don McNally at 18:04.7
Heather Iatauro, now a 16-year-old junior at T-V, has been competing in cross-country events since the second grade.
“It’s not my favorite of the three running events,” said Iatauro, adding she’ll take outdoor and indoor track over cross country any day of the week.
“I like track, but I really don’t like being out in the woods,” she said. “They had been doing some logging up on the trail, and it was really rocky, messy and rooty.”
Iatauro set an early season personal best on Saturday.
Seventeen-year-old Manzi said he “took it nice and easy” on the course. He has been running cross country for three seasons. Manzi was a bit off his record pace in the early season race.
Asked his view on cross country, Manzi replied, “It’s nice and calm out there . . . it’s not as boring as track. It’s very competitive.”
Recent top times in Girls 5K at past Tri-Valley Cross Country Invitationals have included: Heather Iatauro in 19:06 (2001) and Michelle Wale of Pine Bush 19:43 (2000). In the Boys 5K: Sean Corbett of New Paltz 16:39.9 (2001) and T-V’s Joe Iatauro 16:52.2 (2000).
Missy Iatauro has been coaching girls cross country at TVCS since 1979.
“I like to see kids work hard,” she said. “It keeps them out of trouble. If kids can do cross country, they can make it in life because it’s hard work and you have to keep at it.”
T-V Athletic Director and veteran boys cross country coach Joe “Mr. I” Iatauro called it “a sport within itself . . . it’s an endurance kind of sport.
“It’s the endurance season for kids who are runners throughout the year in the speed seasons of indoor and outdoor track,” he added.

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