TOWN OF FENTON
The boys races at Thursday’s Section 4 cross country championships delivered both the expected and the unexpected.
Nothing was more expected than the dominant Class A team victory from Corning.
Perhaps nothing was more unexpected than the individual win in Class B from Maine-Endwell junior Cody Brizzolara, who edged Vestal standout Dana Carris in helping the Spartans to the team championship.
Trumansburg junior Tyler Sutherland also had a sweet double at Chenango Valley State Park, with his win in Class C leading the Blue Raiders to a title.
It was a similar story in Class D, where Southern Cayuga won the championship behind a first-place effort from Michael May.
Also earning a championship was Ithaca sophomore Dan Dracup, who claimed the Class A race.
The winning teams, along with the top five finishers from the other teams in each race, qualified for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships. That meet will be held Nov. 10 at Elma Meadows Golf Course, near Buffalo.
Following closely in the footsteps of Dracup were Corning senior Stephen Rossettie and Hawks junior Sam Chauvin.
It was a similar finish to Saturday’s Southern Tier Athletic Conference meet, where Dracup won, Chauvin was second and Rossettie third.
This sectional title was a long time coming for Corning. Rossettie said 1994 was the last time a Corning team won such a title.
“We haven’t gotten it for the last three years and we’ve been trying so hard each year — getting closer and closer and closer,” Rossettie said. “This meant a lot to me, especially as a senior. I’m really proud of this team.”
John McCarthy finished fourth for Corning, Jared Moore was eighth and James Hauck 11th. The Hawks’ total of 28 points left a lot of distance between them and runner-up Ithaca (54), which beat Corning for the title last year.
“We’ve been training for this day since the Friday after (the meet) last year because we thought we’d have a chance to win and we lost,” Chauvin said. “We’ve been working together all year long. It’s really exciting to be able to do something that you’ve been working for that long and to be able to do it with a group of guys you’ve been working with and become really close to.”
Dracup has been bothered by shin splints this season, but he was at his best Thursday. He won in 16:43.6, the fastest time of the day on the 3.1-mile course that was a muddy mess thanks to a rainy week that continued Thursday. Rossettie took second in 16:55.8.
“I felt great,” Dracup said after capturing his first sectional title. “This was probably one of the smoothest races I’ve had all season. Coming into the finish was the best feeling. I just felt so good the whole time.”
Other state qualifiers were Elmira’s Shaun Kurcoba (fifth) and Cory McCarty (seventh), Ithaca’s Hunter Hartshorne (sixth) and Horseheads’ Hunter Hoffman (ninth).
“Both Shaun and Cory have worked real hard to set themselves up for having a shot at the individual position,” Elmira coach Ben Cardamone said.
In the most stirring race of the day, Brizzolara passed Carris late to win in 16:43.8. Carris, whose season resume includes three invitational titles, finished second in 16:48.9.
M-E’s Nate Smith took third, with teammates Bryant Hatala and Jesse Brenon fourth and fifth. Anthony Taylor was eighth.
Brizzolara, coming off a sixth-place STAC finish, credited his teammates with helping him to the win.
“I was running out with Dana in the start and Bryant and Nate passed me,” he said. “I started dying a little bit. Toward the end, I started catching back up to Bryant and I passed him and he’s like, ‘Dude, good job. Keep going.’ That was really motivational.”
Brizzolara then overtook Smith, who also offered a boost.
“He really helped push me,” Brizzolara said. “Without the motivation of the team I wouldn’t have been able to take first. I love my team.”
Brizzolara passed Carris late before the lead changed hands again. Brizzolara took the lead for good just before the finishing chute and outkicked Carris to win by just over five seconds.
M-E finished with 21 points, followed by Vestal with 53.
Also earning state berths were Owego’s James Felice (sixth), Parrish Bridges (seventh) and Patrick Sargent (ninth), and Vestal’s Brian Jennings (10th).
Sutherland finished third at the IAC championships, with Watkins Glen’s Matt Gill winning that race. This time it was Sutherland who came out on top, with his time of 17:07.6 more than 10 seconds faster than Gill.
“He beat me in the IACs, so I wanted to get a little revenge,” Sutherland said. “It was a good race. Tough course — very muddy. But I pulled it through.”
Sutherland, who placed second in Class C at last year’s sectional meet, said he had to take five days off before the IAC meet.
“It wasn’t my best race at the IACs. But I wanted to battle back,” he said.
Cal Randle finished fourth to help the Blue Raiders take the title with 61 points. Newark Valley was second with 81.
Other individual state qualifiers were Susquehanna Valley’s Alex Whitney (third), Newark Valley’s Zach Jacobson (fifth) and Sam Stewart (sixth), and SV’s Richard Buchanan (seventh).
May, the runner-up at the IAC meet, won Thursday in 17:58.4, followed by teammate Thomas Miller in 18:02.2.
Their efforts helped Southern Cayuga edge Harpursville for the team title, 57-58.
Joining the Southern Cayuga team at states will be Groton’s Theo Moore (third), Jason Jenks (fifth) and Eric Peck (sixth), Tioga’s Brenden Walker (fourth) and Harpursville’s Jack Hillenbrand (seventh).