ELLERY - Moments after completing the 3.1-mile course at the Section 6 cross country championships Friday afternoon at Long Point State Park, Hope Pietrocarlo bent over at the waist and looked to be in obvious pain.
She was quickly attended to by a couple of race officials, but not before laying down on the muddy ground a short walk from the shores of Chautauqua Lake.
The first aid, however, was only temporary.
Maple Grove’s Corey Wefing and Hope Pietrocarlo breezed to first-place finishes in their respective Class D races at Friday’s Section 6 cross country championships. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
by Scott Reagle
The Maple Grove Lady Red Dragons, above, claimed their fourth straight Section 6 Class D team championship Friday at Long Point State Park. Below, Southwestern’s Jordan Powers, left, and Ryan Hetrick run neck and neck to the finish line in the Class C boys race. Hetrick edged his teammate, but they both qualified for the state meet a week from today. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Scott Reagle
Just as quickly, the Maple Grove sophomore bounced to her feet and returned to the vicinity of the finish line.
Not a problem.
Pietrocarlo had her friends and teammates to greet and congratulate.
It was another banner day for the Red Dragons.
Pietrocarlo defended her girls individual title in Class D, two hours after Maple Grove senior Corey Wefing breezed to his fourth consecutive Class D crown. Meanwhile, the Lady Red Dragons earned their fourth straight trip to next weekend's New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships in Queensbury by virtue of capturing the girls team title by a comfortable margin over Silver Creek.
''Success breeds success,'' Maple Grove coach Doc Rappole said.
See CROSS COUNTRY, Page B2
That could apply to the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association as a whole as 22 of its runners - 12 girls and 10 boys - will travel to the North Country next weekend to compete against the state's best.
Once there, Pietrocarlo and Wefing will be among the favorites to come home with the NYSPHSAA Class D individual crown. The Lady Red Dragons, meanwhile, will likely be in a likely with Tully for team supremacy and a fourth straight championship.
''The girls compete against each other like you can't believe,'' Rappole said, ''but they are a team, which is what you hope for.
''Tully's really tough this year. They came down from Class B and they're gunning for us. Actually, I think we'll be gunning for them.''
Pietrocarlo and Wefing had figurative targets on their racing bibs yesterday, but they each led from start to finish.
''Truthfully, they have God-given talents, but they also have the desire to win,'' Rappole said. ''When you take that great athlete and the desire to win, you can't beat it.''
Pietrocarlo, who won the sectionals for the second straight year, posted a winning time of 19 minutes, 19.4 seconds, nearly a minute faster than teammates Caroline Benson (20:16.5) and Taylor Norris (20.19.3), who finished second and third respectively.
''I just ran this race really hard,'' Pietrocarlo said. ''The mud was really tough and hard to work through, my legs hurt really bad and I got a cramp at the mile and a half mark, but I pushed through the race pretty well.''
Noted Rappole: ''By the mile mark, she was in her own race.''
Wefing was all by himself as well, grabbing the lead from the start and cruising to a winning time of 16:31.5. Bryce Moeller of team-champion Barker was second in 17:24.3.
''It definitely feels great to win the Section 6 title,'' Wefing said. ''It's one that I've won in ninth, tenth, eleventh and now twelfth grade. That's just a major accomplishment in my eyes. I'm just really proud of that. ... The wind and the mud were a big factor, but I'm happy with my performance today. I'm focused for next weekend and the state meet.''
Other area runners to qualify for the trip to Queensbury, beginning with the girls, are, in Class D: the rest of the Maple Grove team, which includes Grace Auer (fifth place, 20:41.7), Kristen Kelemen (10th place, 21:42.5), Ally Saar (18th place, 22:57.8) and Abby Sirwatka (22nd, 23:23.4); Emma Seiders of Silver Creek (fourth place, 20:26); Holly Eliason of Clymer-Sherman-Panama (sixth, 20:52.3); and Hannah Seiders of Silver Creek (seventh place, 21:17.7). Advancing in Class C are Gwen Stokes of Fredonia (fourth place, 20:26.9) and teammate Michaela Tramuta (fifth place, 29:28.1).
Among the CCAA boys qualifying for the states, Allegany-Limestone's Owen Barber turned in the best finish by placing first in the Class C race. A second-place finisher in the CCAA meet last week, Barber posted a winning time of 16:43.4 to hold of Alden's Dylan Servos (16:52.8).
Mathew Kruszka of Gowanda was third in 17:19.8, Southwestern's Ryan Hetrick (17:24.0) and Jordan Powers (17:24.2) were fourth and fifth, and Ethan Francia of Dunkirk earned the final spot in the class by finishing sixth (17:29.9).
The boys Class D state qualifiers, besides Wefing, are Josh Odell of Clymer-Sherman-Panama (fifth place, 17:42.2), Matt Bacher of Franklinville (seventh place, 17:54); Dan Odell of Clymer-Sherman-Panama (eighth place, 18:04.5); and Frank Zuroski of Maple Grove (ninth place, 18:13.5).
The rest of the boys individual winners were Daniel Huben of champion Clarence (16:21) in Class A; and T.J. Hornberger of Lake Shore (15:50.9) in Class B. For Hornberger, it was his fourth straight sectional title. Team champions for the boys, besides Clarence, went to Sweet Home in Class B, Alden in Class C and Barker in Class D.
For the girls, Marissa Saenger of champion Clarence earned a first place with a time of 18:45.3, Sophia Tasselmyer of Starpoint paced Class B in 18:38.7 and Newfane's Kelly Bochnewetch led Class C in 19:46.3. East Aurora was the girls' Class B team champ and Akron claimed the Class C team crown.
Other than the Maple Grove girls' first-place finish, the Southwestern boys and the Clymer-Sherman-Panama boys turned in the next-best efforts among area teams by placing second in Class C and Class D respectively.