TOWN OF FENTON
Ithaca High junior Dan Dracup repeated as Section 4 Class A boys cross country champion Thursday by a comfortable margin at soggy Chenango Valley State Park.
This title comes on the heels of the Southern Tier Athletic Conference title Dracup claimed last week at Pheasant Hill Country Club in Owego.
Another athlete who collected a second consecutive individual Section 4 title was freshman Julia Russell of Candor, who repeated the feat among Class D girls.
Also capturing individual boys titles were Sam Chauvin of Corning (Class B), Richard Buchanan of Susquehanna Valley (Class C) and Matt Gill of Watkins Glen (Class D). Joining Russell as girls champions were Abby Wheeler of Elmira (Class A), Jessica Lawson of Corning (Class B) and Kaylee Stone of Windsor (Class C).
Earning starts in Nov. 9 state championships at Queensbury High School are the top team in each class and gender, as well as the top five finishers in each class/gender from teams other than the winning team.
Boys team championships went to Ithaca (Class A), Corning (Class B), Susquehanna Valley (Class C) and Watkins Glen (Class D). On the girls’ side, winners were Elmira (Class A), Corning (Class B), Trumansburg (Class C) and Watkins Glen (Class D).
Complete results were unavailable as of press time.
“I didn’t expect it to go out that slow,” said Dracup, also a top-10 sectional finisher as a freshman. “I knew going into it that this was going to be a more comfortable race than STAC’s, so going in I just wanted to run my own race, just see how that went.
“I just ran with my teammates for the first 400-600 meters and then I took off. I felt good, felt really good the whole time. Once I knew that I had a good enough lead that I didn’t have to worry, I just kind of coasted.”
Asked what would make for a successful outing in the state championship meet, Dracup said: “Of course I’d like a faster time than I ran last year. … If I could place top-20, maybe top-15 this year, that would be awesome. Of course like every race, if I go out and just feel like I gave it my all … “
Candor’s Russell was in her element despite conditions more suited to an indoor activity — “I love running in this kind of whether, this is fun for me. I just like the cooler weather better than the hotter, and the rainy and the puddles — it’s just fun. … (Footing) was pretty good, I didn’t slip that much.”
And looking ahead to state championships, she said: “Just to go out and have a good race, hopefully top 20.”
Through conditions that were something less than to his liking, SV’s Buchanan persevered — and then was seen jacket-free and barefoot for an uncomfortable period of time while athletes were assembled near the awards tent.
It seems he shed a toenail somewhere along the way, and felt compelled to doff the footwear by way of comparing wounds with another runner — “I couldn’t feel it, it doesn’t hurt, so I have no idea (where in the race) I did it,” he said.
Buchanan did recall taking the lead bout a quarter-mile into the race.
“I kept a pretty good pace going, as-hard-as-I-could-race pace, basically, until about a mile, maybe a mile-and-a-half,” he said. “I turn around a lot, just a habit of mine, and I realized there wasn’t anybody close to me so I slowed down a little bit.
“From about a mile-and-a-half to the finish, I just kind of ran my own race, did my own thing, didn’t push it too hard but definitely didn’t take it easy.”