Story by Jon Dinan
For Missy Iatauro, Tuesday’s OCIAA Division V cross country championship meet was probably the last time she will see her Tri-Valley girls’ cross country team race at the Grahamsville school.
And the retiring coach got to see what she has witnessed many times over the past 20 years her Lady Bears coming out on top, claiming the first six spots en route to a romp in the division championship meet. Autumn Bender, Danielle Graham, Sabrena Smith, Ali Reynolds, Brooke Gillette and Brittany Pennelli were those first six finishers in order.
With 14 runners, this season’s Tri Valley girl’s team is the largest Iatauro has ever led.
“I’m fortunate to be ending my coaching career with such a great group,” said Iatauro of her team which is currently ranked No. 9 in New York State, Class C. “They’re a hardworking group which is improving and showing a lot of enthusiasm for the sport.
“We’re all looking forward to championship week.” said Iatauro, referencing the OCIAA league championship and Section IX championships at Bear Mountain next. “We have our work cut out for us. Onteora has a tough front two, Emily Waligurski and Julia Rubin-Armstrong, and Sullivan West is always tough.”
Coach Iatauro has won six girls cross country state championships since becoming a coach at Tri-Valley in the 1980s.
“I’ve been very lucky. Over the years I have had kids with a great work ethic and great parents.” Iatauro revealed.
The boys’ OCIAA Division V race on Tuesday belonged to Mount Academy, competing in their first-ever Section IX cross-country season.
The Walden-based school founded two years ago by the Bruderhof religious group, took first place overall with a score of 20.
Seven Mount runners finished in the top ten, including first-place finisher, senior Rufus Wareham who outdistanced Eldred’s Alex Campanella by twenty seconds. Mount is the No. 1 ranked Class D team in the state.
The Tri-Valley boys’ team finished second with Justin Weintraub leading the way with a 10th place finish.
Said Weintraub about the upcoming sectional meet:
“I feel pretty good. We ran well today, and I think the only team we have to worry about going into sectionals is Rhinebeck. I know a few of their runners, and I know they will be a tough opponent.”
Tri-Valley boys’ head coach Joe Iatauro hopes his team can upstage its own performance from a year ago when they finished second to Rhinebeck, currently ranked No. 4 in the state, Class C. Tri-Valley is ranked No. 14.
“We’re excited to see how we perform this year against the quality teams at sectionals. We’re very satisfied with our season thus far, but we’re not done yet,” said Iatauro.