OSWEGO — Oswego High School senior Miranda Gilbert completed two of her lifelong goals in the span of four days earlier this month.
Gilbert signed her national letter of intent to attend Division I Siena College next fall to compete in cross country and track and field on Nov. 13, and ran a personal-best time of 17 minutes and 56 seconds at the state cross country championships on Nov. 16, overcoming freezing temperatures on the weather-shortened 2.8-mile course at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Gilbert’s 37th-place performance in Class A during her second appearance at the state meet garnered her a spot in her first career state Federations race, which was scheduled for last Saturday at Bowdoin Park in Wappinger Falls.
“That’s exciting because I really love racing, so I was hoping I could make it to have another (in my high school career),” Gilbert said.
Gilbert became the second girl from Oswego to qualify for the cross country Federations meet, joining classmate and co-captain Molly FitzGibbons, who accomplished the feat last year before the race was cancelled due to harsh weather conditions. The duo each advanced to the 2017 state championships during their respective sophomore seasons.
Gilbert posted the ninth-best time among Section 3 participants in this year’s state meet, which was held with temperatures in the high teens and low 20’s on a course shortened from the standard 5K due to safety concerns over the presence of snow and ice on the ground.
“She was determined,” Oswego varsity cross country coach Catherine Celeste said. “She went out there with a goal, knew exactly where she wanted to be and the time that she wanted, and she was very focused in the last couple of weeks of practice to get to states.”
Gilbert said that while she has battled similar cold while taking occasional winter runs during indoor track season, the race conditions were the most difficult she has faced in competition.
“I pretty much just had to get out there because everyone is facing the same conditions, so I just wanted to do my best,” Gilbert said. “It was really cool to be there with a lot of the top runners in the state. It was a freezing day, but it was fun to get out there and see how I could do.”
Siena cross country and track coach John Kenworthy was on hand to congratulate Gilbert following her performance at states, just a few days after the Oswego senior made her commitment to join the Saints of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Gilbert said she made her decision in October after making an official visit to the Loudonville-based college the month prior. The Siena women’s team placed third of 11 teams in the MAAC championships on Nov. 2.
“The coaches are awesome and the team is super close, and they were so fun to be around and funny, and they also worked hard,” Gilbert said. “I feel it was a lot of like-minded people and I’m excited to go and be with that group.”
Celeste added: “In the time that she spent with them, she feels like the philosophy is going to match well. She is looking for the next step to improve, and he’s just the right coach for that.”
Gilbert finalized her college commitment at a signing ceremony on Nov. 13 at Oswego High School, and was joined by several family members, teammates, coaches, and other friends and school community members.
“That made it official so it was kind of cool for me, and my family was there, so it was a special day,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert’s memorable season also included a 10th-place finish to lead the Buccaneers to a fifth-place team showing in the Section 3 Class A championships on Nov. 8 at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill.
The three-sport standout won the Section 3 Class A and Salt City Athletic Conference championships for the 1,500 run in outdoor track last spring, and placed second in the event at the Section 3 state qualifiers. Gilbert also secured the sectional and league titles in the 3,000 run as a sophomore.
For indoor track, Gilbert won the Section 3 Class A title for the 1,000 run last year, and was the Salt City Athletic Conference champion for the 3,000 as a sophomore.