PHILADELPHIA — On a relatively flat course behind the Indian River Intermediate School, the Beaver River boys and South Lewis girls cruised to team first-place finishes in the Frontier League cross country championships on Tuesday.
Colton Kempney, Josiah Evan and Cory Demo were the top three finishers for Beaver River while Hannah Ielfield, Lexi Bernard and Brynn Bernard took the top three spots for South Lewis in the girls race.
For both the Beaver River boys and South Lewis girls, who each repeated as team champions, the meet also served as a tune up ahead of the larger races in the coming weeks.
BEAVER RIVER BOYS
Colton Kempney is used to finishing these races with no one in front of him. Tuesday wasn’t any different for the sophomore runner who is ranked eighth in the state by Tully Runners, he finished first with a time of 16:39.9 — Josiah Evan and Cory Demo were close behind with times of 16:40.3 and 16:40.5 respectively.
For Kempney, the Frontier League championship served as a tempo run.
“Just went for a tempo, not too hard, just focusing on the end of the season right now,” Kempney said. “We describe it as comfortably hard. It’s just so your legs can feel a little burn, it makes the lactic acid go away a little bit.”
With the biggest meets of the season still yet come, Beaver River coach Alex Barrett was happy with his team’s performance.
“I think it was a good solid effort, we’re at a really decent point in the season where things are just starting to click,” Barrett said. “We’re really starting to do major prep work for the end of the season so I’m encouraged by today’s performance.”
Aside from the top three or four runners, the rest of the Beavers are competing for a postseason spot.
“That’s one of the best things, I’m very grateful that we have a very competitive team right from the top all the way down to the bottom and those guys all push each other,” Barrett said. “So right now, they’re all thinking about who is going to make the top 10, because 10 can run at sectionals and from sectionals you take your top seven that get to go to states if your team is fortunate enough to win.”
The Beavers will participate in an invitational at Weedsport on Saturday followed by one in Adirondack in the following week. The best 10 runners in the Adirondack race will get the nod for sectionals.
SOUTH LEWIS GIRLS The trio of Hannah Ielfield, Lexi Bernard and Brynn Bernard lead the Falcons, and the rest of the field, in the girls race as usual. Ielfield placed first with a time of 18:32.2 followed by Lexi Bernard at 18:38.9 and Brynn Bernard at 18:39.7.
“It went good, I knew that the three of us had to push it out in the front just to get a lead and just to work together and it went good,” Ielfield said. “We try working together and try to work on a fast pace and just push it out from the start and see where that goes.”
Like the Beaver River boys, South Lewis is gearing up for the bigger postseason races.
“We do a lot of speed workouts and hill repeats, so I think we’re ready,” Ielfield said.
After the top three South Lewis runners completed the race, they made their way a little down the course to cheer on their teammates. Coach Jack Bernard was there as well, shouting instructions, trying to motivate his runners.
“I like it, because you can be anywhere on the course and you can just hear him,” Ielfield said. “It makes you giggle but also you’re like, ‘I should probably pick it up now.’”
The Falcons are also looking for the runners outside of the top three to stand out with playoffs looming, something Bernard was looking for in the Frontier League championship.
“It’s kind of hard, because the first three were supposed to run fast enough to win, the rest of the pack I want to see something. I don’t know if I saw anything at all,” Bernard said. “We’re still looking to find our fifth girl, our fourth girl had a down day, but a little bit of a test today, we haven’t raced in a while and Saturday we’re heading down to Section 1 to see how we do on a hill course.”
With the main goal to make states, Bernard is looking for his team to step up a little more as the season winds down.
From the boys team: Owen Vincent (South Jefferson), Collin Stafford (South Lewis), Kempney (BR), Demo (BR), Noah Edick (SL), Evan (BR), Conrad Freed (BR), Hector Ramos (Indian River), Hunter Moore (BR), Wayland Horton (Carthage), Nathan Goldthrite (BR) and Brayden Campeau (BR). David Clarkson (Watertown) made honorable mention.
From the girls team: Ielfield (SL), Lexi Bernard (SL), Brynn Bernard (SL), Alexa Doe (SJ), Karsyn Burnash (SJ), Lauren Brandt (BR), Shannon Thompson (Carthage), Makayla Garrison (BR), Peyton Smith (BR), Mariella Sauer (BR), Kate Banazek (SJ). Kaylee Haynes (SJ) and Ariel Wener (BR) were named honorable mentions.