VERONA — Some familiar faces are headed back to the state cross country meet after their performances at the Section 3 meet Saturday at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School.
Beaver River sophomore Colton Kempney and South Lewis junior Hannah Ielfield each won their respective races to highlight the Frontier League’s runners. Kempney took the crown in the Class D race while Ielfied was victorious in Class C girls event. A total of 13 area runners will move on to next weekend’s meet at SUNY Plattsburgh.
KEMPNEY REPEATS AS CHAMPION
Kempney defended his sectional title and stayed unbeaten so far for the 2019 season with a time of 16 minutes, 26.3 seconds on the 5-kilometer course. He trimmed nearly a minute-and-a-half from his winning time from last year’s victory at Chittenango High School.
“I’m just really focusing on the end of the season,” Kempney said. “I’m just training hard and have my eyes set at the end.”
This year’s top four finishers in the boys Class D race remained the same as last year as teammates Cory Demo and Josiah Evan took second and third, respectively. Dylan Williams of Waterville finished fourth just like last year.
Demo and Evan have made a friendly competition out of finishing ahead of the other in the standings and maybe someday catching Kempney.
“It’s what keeps me going,” Demo said. “Don’t get beat by Josiah, but I don’t know about beating Colton.”
Seven of the 10 runners, including Conrad Freed (fifth), Hunter Moore (sixth), Brayden Campeau (ninth) and Nathan Goldthrite (10th) were from Beaver River and all of them get to move on to next week’s state meet, where it will try to nail down its third consecutive state title. Demo would love to finish the year strong and improve on his eighth-place showing on Sept. 21 at SUNY Plattsburgh at the Pre-State Meet.
“I didn’t run how I wanted there, but I think at states I think I’ll be able to run better now that I know the course.”
The Beavers totaled an eye-popping 17 points and easily outpaced second-place Sauquoit Valley, which had 93. Demo said the team has been working all year long to achieve its goals.
“We’re just so dedicated to the sport,” Kempney said. “We all put in so much work over the summer and during the season.”
South Lewis eighth-grader Collin Stafford finished fifth to book a spot at states in the Class C boys race.
SOUTH LEWIS TRIO SHINES
The familiar trio of Ielfield, Lexi Bernard and Brynn Bernard will make a return to states after finishing first, second and fourth for the Falcons. Ielfield turned in a mark of 18:52.9 on the same course where she finished second during the 2017 sectional meet.
“I just like worked the hills, stayed out front and stayed relaxed,” Ielfield said.
Ielfield received a pep talk from older sister, Hali, before the race. The elder Ielfield sister was a decorated cross country and track runner for South Lewis and runs for Division I Manhattan College.
“She actually Facetimed me before the beginning of the race and gave me some words of inspiration to try to pump me up for the race,” Hannah Ielfield said.
South Lewis finished second in the overall Class C standings but did snag the C-2 banner. Camden took the overall class title, but Brynn Bernard said the C-2 is a good consolation prize.
“We’re really happy that we won that (sectional title),” she said.
Another Frontier League runner will join the South Lewis trio as South Jefferson sophomore Alexa Doe finished seventh in the Class C race. Doe joked that racing against the Falcons runners has prepared her for big events.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” said Doe, who finished 29th in last year’s state Class C race. “Those are some pretty fast girls over there, but it’s a good push for us.”
The Bernards and Ielfield finished second, third and fourth in last year’s Class D race at Sunken Meadown State Park in Smithown. The trio has been constantly making each other better.
“We all push each in practice and in races,” Lexi Bernard said. “I can’t wait to go out hard and run next week.”
In Class D, Beaver River freshman Lauren Brandt placed eighth with a time of 21:12.0 and earned a spot at in the state race. South Jefferson’s Karsyn Burnash finished seventh in Class C and just missed out on a state place.