Hayleigh Palotti, the 2015 Democrat and Chronicle All-Greater Rochester Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, won the seeded girls small schools race at the McQuaid Invitational last week for the first time.
A junior at Livonia, Palotti wanted a faster time than 18 minutes, 2.6 seconds over the three-mile course, but there were positives to point out. Palotti, for starters, underlined that she is again a threat to win a state championship.
Palotti’s victory at Genesee Valley Park was her third first-place finish at an invitational this season. The other two also were impressive. First, was the Wayne Invitational, site of the Section V Championships, on Sept. 17. She then won on this year’s course for the state championships Sept. 24 during the McDaniel-Baxter Championships.
Livonia swept its Livingston County-Genesee Region league meet on Tuesday at . Palotti led the charge with her easy first-place finish in 18:54.00.
Season summary: “I’m pretty good where I’m at, after pre-states and pre-sectionals. And McQuaid was OK. I’ll be training the next few weeks for sectionals (on Nov. 5).
Change of pace: She played soccer for 11 years, mostly as a midfielder. “After my ninth-grade year, I got more fierce about running. I thought it would help me with my endurance (for the track and field seasons). It was a long debate about what I should do.”
Did you know: “I really love foreign language. I take French and Spanish. I also want to learn sign language someday.”