Story by Jon Dinan
Last Friday, a total of 278 varsity runners competed in the 45th annual Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Cross Country Championships at Bear Mountain State Park.
The boys set out first on the grueling three-mile course at around 12:30 p.m. Middletown High School runner Alex Shodai won the boys' race with a time of 15:35.15.
Two Sullivan County runners finished in the top 25 earning medals: Alex Campanella of Eldred, eighth overall with a time of 15:59.56 and Reed Scott of Sullivan West, 15th overall in 16:23.24.
In the boys’ race, the top team was Warwick with a total time of 1:20:22.61 and average time of 16:04.53;
The top three Sullivan County boy’s team finishers were: Tri-Valley (14th) with a total time of 1:31:02.13, and an average time of 18:12.43; Sullivan West (15th) with a total time of 1:33:33.59, and an average time of: 18:42.72. and Monticello (16th) with a total time of 1:35:40.65, and an average time of 19:08.13.
As the last boy’s runners were crossing the finish line the girls began their race. Holly Cavalluzzo of Valley Central took an early lead, however Warwick Valley freshman Megan Reilly caught up quickly. She took the lead shortly after circling Hessian Lake for the second time. She maintained her advantage and crossed the finish line first, posting a time of 17:21.08.
“I din’t expect to come in first, but I went out there and pushed myself,” Reilly said. “I was intimidated by the hills but I felt pretty good on them and I kept a good pace until the end because it’s a quick recovery,” she added.
Like the boys, two Sullivan County girls earned medals for top-25 finishers: Autum Bender of Tri-Valley, 12th in 18:58.42, and Camryn Johnson of Monticello, 13th in 19:05.02.
“I ran well today,” said Bender. “This course is easy compared to the last one our team ran so we had some good preparation for today.”
Warwick was the team winner in the girls race as well, finishing with a total time of 1:33:42.60 and an average of 18:44.52.
The top three Sullivan County girls team finishers were: Tri Valley (6th) with a total time of 1:42:19.23 and an average of 20:27.85; Monticello (10th) with a total time of 1:45:33.18 and an average of 21:06.64; and Sullivan West (11th) with a total time of 1:49:46.38 and an average of 21:57.28.
The Section IX cross country championship meet, which features 10 races, will be held this Friday, Nov. 2 on the same 3-mile course at Bear Mountain. The first race of the day, boys’ Class D, begins at 10:30 a.m. and the last race, Class C girls’, is slated to begin at 3 p.m.