Wayne Central is where the going can get tough, even for the top cross country runners in Section V.
The Section V Championships are Saturday, with individual and team champions to be crowned in five girls and five boys classifications.
All of the 2015 sectional girls champions are back: Livonia senior Hayleigh Palotti (Class C), Rush-Henrietta senior Sammy Watson (A), Canandaigua sophomore Clancy Rheude (B), Harley-Allendale Columbia’s Eileen Reinhardt, a senior, and Red Creek senior Chloe Weaver (DD).
Pittsford Mendon junior Nathan Lawler (B) and Hornell senior Austin Miller (C) are the only boys in position to repeat at Wayne. McQuaid (A), Pittsford Mendon (B), Bath (C), Honeoye (D) and Addison (DD) were the winning boys teams in 2015.
Webster Thomas, Honeoye Falls-Lima, Livonia, Harley-Allendale Columbia and Addison are the reigning girls team champions.
There were teams who took advantage of an opportunity to run on the Section V championship course Sept. 17 during the Wayne Invitational. Section V later sent out a warning that teams risked disqualification from sectionals, if they continued to return to the course before the championship meet.
Three things to watch at Wayne:
Any challengers for Mendon’s Lawler: The reigning Class B boys champion is one of the best in the state, according to TullyRunners.com. Lawler is second on the website’s speed rating state leaderboard, that includes runners in all classifications, behind Guilderland senior Noah Carey in Section II.
Brighton senior Paul Dellinger, who also competes in Class B, is 10th on the leaderboard, the second-highest rated boy from Section V.
Finishing kick for Fairport boys: The Red Raiders turned heads last weekend by winning the Monroe County Championships. Penfield was the favorite to win, in part because the Patriots defeated Fairport during a dual meet at Mendon Ponds East. Can Fairport top Penfield in back-to-back weeks?
Fairport is No. 12, Penfield No. 13 in the New York State Sportswriters Association boys team state rankings, released Oct. 26.
Majd Rouhana, a senior, led the Fairport charge Oct. 26 during the league championships at Parma Park in Hilton. Rouhana was third, behind Lawler and Dellinger, matching his finish at the 2015 sectionals, while sophomore teammate Sean Henretta came in ninth.
Class A girls race: Numbers say this race may not be that exciting.
Webster Thomas senior Amanda Vestri is fifth on the TullyRunners.comgirls state leaderboard and has a highly impressive win on the state championship course in Chenango Valley State Park. Off-season training with former Churchville-Chili football coach Paul Dick also has boosted the confidence in Vestri, who was the overall winner in five of six Monroe County league meets and has given a verbal commitment to run at Division I Iowa State.
Turning your attention toward the finish line may still be worthwhile. Watson won this race last fall, then continued a build-up that put her in the United States Track and Field Olympic Trials. Rush-Henrietta coach Mike DeMay and Watson know how to shape training for big meets, and this may count in their eyes.
Churchville-Chili senior Anna Kostarellis was the runner-up to Watson in 2015, one place ahead of Vestri. Is this when Irondequoit junior Madeleine Shellard elevates her status by joining this threesome as contenders? Maybe. Shellard was a member of the 2015 Democrat and Chronicle All-Greater Rochester team.
Vestri, Kostarellis (12th), Watson (19th) and Shellard each have places in the top 25 of the state leaderboard at TullyRunners.com.