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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Saratoga , BH-BL XC split dual meet

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Saratoga , BH-BL XC split dual meet

It was a date circled on the calendar for the Saratoga Springs and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls cross country teams. A friendly title fight between two of the top squads in the Capital Region and the ladies didn’t disappoint as the Blue Streaks edging out the Spartans, 25-30, in Suburban Council action at Saratoga Spa State Park Tuesday afternoon.

Senior harrier Hannah Davidson led Saratoga with a 17 minute jaunt over the 3.05 mile course followed by the Burnt Hills duo of Sam Roecker at 17:21 and Molly Pezzulo at 17:27.

The depth of the Blue Streaks program followed in Cassie Goutos with a 17:28, Brianne Bellon at 17:50 and Sydney King at 18:15. The Spartans answered with Rachel Stalker, seventh, at 18:28 and Alyssa Drapeau next at 18:32, but Amanda Borroughs sealed the Saratoga win with her 18:35. Riley Wilk rounded out the Burnt Hills scoring at 18:42.

“We had a great day today and its still late in the season,” Saratoga coach Linda Kranick said. “We had four freshman up on the varsity squad who stepped it up and ran like varsity girls today.”

It didn’t surprise anyone that Davidson came across the finish line first.
“I was happy with my time,” Davidson said. “We tried to go out slow and it paid off.”

Roecker and Pezzulo were left to pacing Davidson, planning on taking the next two spots in the finish for Burnt Hills.

“Hannah took it out pretty fast,” Molly Pezzulo said. “There was a little pressure, we tried to stay with them.”

Roecker was prepared for the mental challenge of racing the Blue Streaks.

“We’ve raced them before, so we were ready,” Roecker said. “You have to stay with them and be prepared for that.”

Saratoga’s trio was focused on following their leader and focusing on a high finish.

“I went out with Hannah,” sophomore Cassie Goutos said. “My job is to be as close to her as I can. We like working together during a race.”

The next step is to out run the competition.

“I mainly think about catching girls from the other team, not my time,” sophomore Brianne Bellon said. “This was one of our harder runs all year.”

After having years of success in dual meets, facing another quality program in what amounted to a match race, brought with it its own dynamic.

“In the beginning of the race I was nervous,” freshman Sidney King said. “Once it started, it felt like a normal race. I wanted to stay in front of as many Burnt Hills girls as possible.”

Freshman Amanda Borroughs had to follow two Burnt Hills runners across the finish line, but her determination paid off for the win.

“I was behind four Burnt Hills girls in a pack,” Borroughs said. “On a hill I passed two of them at the end.”

Second-place finisher Sam Roecker knew that taking on Saratoga without its top runner, Meghan Gregory who was unable to race due to illness, would mean demanding more from herself and her teammates.

“I think as a team we can do better,” Roecker said. “We ran really well today, but I know we can run faster.”

Burnt Hills girls coach Shaun Zepf understood Roecker’s disappointment Tuesday.

“She knew that we had to win some head-to-head races and we didn’t,” Zepf said. “Sam is more concerned about the team score and she’s disappointed with that, but she ran well.”

The challenge of taking on the Blue Streaks with the Spartans down a key runner could pay dividends as the sectional, state and federation meets loom ahead.

“I have some eighth-graders and freshman runners who had to fill in on varsity and they are not used to a varsity style race,” Zepf said. “They fought back well and had to overcome a hole like that early in the race. They learned that they need to run harder in that first 400 meters.”

The Burnt Hills boys team took Tuesday’s undercard contest, claiming seven out of the top 10 positions to win its half of the dual meet, 24-35.

Saratoga’s junior Demetri Goutos set a blistering pace on his way to a first-place finish in 15:25. Spartan freshman Otis Ubriaco was well behind at 16:03 followed by junior teammate Kent Harlow at 16:13. Blue Streak freshman Sam Place was fourth at 16:16 followed by Spartan runners Ryan Douglas and Sean Pezzulo. Saratoga senior Ken Hammond finished seventh at 16:38.

“Otis and I took it out in the lead and he kept with me till the one-mile mark,” Goutos said. “I tried to turn it on after a mile. I wanted to get a PR (personal record) today and I got it.”

Ubriaco knew he would have a tough time pacing Goutos on the park course.

“I wanted to latch onto him and hold onto him,” Goutos said. “You want to gain a little on him. I was trying to make up ground and make sure no one comes up behind you.”

Harlow was able to keep pace, good enough for third place and earn his own personal best on Tuesday.

“To stay with them I had to put forth my best effort at the end,” Harlow said. “It’s good for me to get a PR, we definitely needed it today against Saratoga.”

The Saratoga squad responded well, forced to recover from a full day of travel and competition Saturday at the Manhattan Invitational.

“Every time we run a race on a Tuesday it’s hard,” fifth-year competitor Ken Hammond said. “Burnt Hills was great competition for us.”

The Burnt Hills boys team broke a curse that has followed them each year after hosting the Burnt Hills Invitational at Saratoga Spa State Park.

“We always seem to have a let down,” Burnt Hills boys coach Chip Button said. “It’s a positive to come in here and get a win. Not everyone ran well on Saturday, but they ran good enough today to beat Saratoga.”

Boys results
Burnt Hills 24, Saratoga 35
Burnt Hills 15, Saratoga 15, Columbia 50
1. Demetri Goutos (SS) 15:25. 2. Otis Ubriaco (BHBL) 16:03. 3. Kent Harlow (BHBL) 16:13. 4. Sam Place (SS) 16:16. 5. Ryan Douglas (BHBL) 16:28. 6. Sean Pezzulo (BHBL) 16:36. 7. Ken Hammond (SS) 16:38. 8. Chance Wilk (BHBL) 16:49. 9. Scott Maughan (BHBL) 16:51. 10. Greg Cormier (BHBL) 17:06.

Girls results
Saratoga 25, Burnt Hills 30
Burnt Hills 15, Saratoga 15, Columbia 50
1. Hannah Davidson (SS) 17:00. 2. Sam Roecker (BHBL) 17:21. 3. Molly Pezzulo (BHBL) 17:27. 4. Cassie Goutos (SS) 17:28. 5. Brianne Bellon (SS) 17:50. 6. Sydney King (SS) 18:15. 7. Rachel Stalker (BHBL) 18:28. 8. Alyssa Drapeau (BHBL) 18:32. 9. Amanda Borroughs (SS) 18:35. 10. RIley Wilk (BHBL) 18:42.

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