South Lewis’ Lexi Bernard crosses the finish line first to claim the Section 3 Class D girls title during the sectional meet last Saturday in Verona. Dan Mount/Watertown Daily Times

Area runners are hoping familiarity with the state cross country course will lead to success.

Runners from the Frontier League and Section 10 will compete in today’s NYSPHSAA cross country meet at Chenango Valley State Park, hosted by Section 4’s Chenango Forks. Many north country runners who made it to states ran the McDaniel-Baxter Invitational on Sept. 18. at the course in the pre-state race.

“We took everybody down in the beginning of the season and they had a real good look at (the course),” Beaver River head coach Alex Barrett said. “We’ve got a good solid plan for our race strategy.”

Each cross-country season usually features an early invitational on the state meet course, which serves as a dry run for runners and race officials. The race allows competitors to get used to what makes each course unique. The Chenango Valley circuit features a fast opening portion.

“We know the first mile is pretty quick, but the second mile is a lot of uphill and stuff,” Beaver River sophomore Conner Zehr said.

Beaver River senior Colton Kempney, who won the Section 3 Class D boys race Saturday, turned in a time of 16 minutes, 32.8 seconds in the pre-state event, which was the seventh-best time of any male runner from any class out of 675 runners.

“I’m stoked for it,” Kempney said of the state meet. “It’ll be nice to go out there and crank one, see what shape I’m in and see what I do.”

Beaver River is looking to add a 19th state Class D title and its fourth in a row. However, it will have to contend with Section 9’s Tri-Valley and Section 5’s Arkport-Canaseraga if they want to add to its trophy cabinet. Tupper Lake will represent Section 10 in the Class D boys race.

South Jefferson senior Alexa Doe, who placed first in the girls Class C final on Saturday, pulled out a win over Camden’s Elizabeth Lucasson in one of the season’s girls varsity races. She’s hoping to become the first Spartans state champion since Nicole Lister in 2003.

“I want to win states and I hope our team can get that, too,” Doe said.

South Jefferson must deal with Bronxville of Section 1 in the team event. Norwood-Norfolk will be led by Maddie Dineen as the Flyers represent Section 10. The Spartans last competed as a team at the state level in 2000 when they were led by Lister.

“It’s one thing we’ve wanted to do since (Alexa Doe and Karsyn Burnash) were in eighth grade.” Spartans coach Justin Crossway said. “Everything else is icing on the cake.”

The South Lewis girls come into the Class D girls race as the top-ranked team in the state in the preseason. The Falcons are led by sisters Lexi and Brynn Bernard, who finished first and second, respectively, at the Section 3 Class D meet. South Lewis was able to take some time off between the Frontier League and Section 3 meet to refresh.

“We had three weeks off where we were training and doing everything we could do,” South Lewis coach Jack Bernard said.

South Lewis is looking for its first team state title since it won the Class D crown in 2017. The sisters have been run as individuals in past state tournaments, but the whole team gets to go this season.

“Our goal was to make it to states and I’m happy we pulled it off,” Lexi Bernard said.

Frontier League runners that will compete individually in the state meet are recent Toledo University commit McKinley Fielding of Carthage in the Class B and Collin Stafford of South Lewis in Class D.

Nysphsaa cross country meet

AREA RUNNERS

Boys

Class B

Malone: Will Leroy, Nicholas Thompson, Watson Chodat, Donovan Guerin, Tristan Hellijas, Dylan Keating, Spencer Miletich

Class C

Norwood-Norfolk: Lance Bradley, Logan Bradley, Thomas Burkum, Elliott Cook, Anthony Fiacco, Dominic Fiacco, Jace Williamson; Canton: Hayden Bregg, Max Finley, Nick Lyndaker; Gouverneur: Cole Siebels; Salmon River: Cayde Lazore

Class D

Beaver River: Brandon Atwood, Tyler Boliver, Brayden Campeau, Colton Kempney, Ethan Moore, Conner Zehr, Mason Zehr; South Lewis: Collin Stafford; Tupper Lake: Micheal Corneau, Logan Flagg, Dane O’Connor, Tom Peterson, Carter Riley; Brushton-Moira: Jacob Debyah, Chris Schroen, Bruce Trickey

Girls

Class B

Carthage: McKinley Fielding; Malone: Cora Benardot, Adeline Chodat, Tye Lawrence, Murphy Maguire, Emma Perez.

Class C

South Jefferson: Alexa Doe, Karsyn Burnash, Reece Roberts, Chloe Abbott, Kate Banazek, Annabelle Renzi, Carley Worden; Norwood-Norfolk: Maddie Dineen, Sharon Colbert, Madison Ashley, Madison Carista, Brielle Gates, Rachel Hewey, Lauren Sweet; Canton: Grace McDonough; Gouveneur: Meredith Bush, Zoe Griffith, Rikki Griffith; Salmon River: Jasmine Oakes.

Class D

South Lewis: Lexi Bernard, Brynn Bernard, Mallory Kraeger, Grace Bailey, Shelby Becraft, Madison Rhubart; Brushton-Moira: Olivia Bobbie, Anna Chapman, Jenna Labar; Tupper Lake: Reagan Fritts.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Reporter/Agate Person

A lifelong resident of Northern New York. Dan graduated from Lyme Central School and attended SUNY Oswego. He's worked in all forms of media, including radio and print. Dan covers hockey, wrestling, track and field, tennis, volleyball and golf.

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