On Halloween this past Saturday as many young people were carb loading on sugary treats and making last minute costume decisions, the Canton Golden Bears Cross Country crew was busy racing the campus of Hugh C. Williams against the Massena Red Raiders and Brushton-Moira Panthers. The Boys and Girls teams each prevailed taking all of the top spots, both combining for a score of 15-50.
The weather Saturday started out brisk but as the temperature warmed up, so did the racing. Coach Shannon Shannon opened the day with modified races which were very successful for the Bears. The boys and girls each had a chance to show off their abilities over the 1.5 mile course. The course begins on the south end of the John Oliver Field as the runners race in the direction of the Banford Playground. As the runners approach the playground they then enter the Nature Trail and head towards the Partridge Run Golf Course. They then round the turn and and run through the new baseball and softball field complex, race up the hill at the far end of the track and kick it in down the access road alongside the track towards the school to the finish line!
Top runners for the boys were Daniel Huang in first place (10:20), Grady O’Brian in third place (12:11) and Alden Woodruff in 4th place (12:43). For the girls it was a sweep of the top three spots as Bennett Schmitt took top honors with an 11:56, Lexi Stuntz in second with a 12:10 and Marilisa Salvi-Miguel in third with a 12:19. It was exciting to see the boys team cheering on each of the finishing girls runners as they waited for their race. The camaraderie between the two teams was definitely on display on a beautiful Saturday morning.
The Varsity races followed a heart felt thank you and show of respect to the senior members of the program by Head Coach Kris Boettcher and Coach Tom Vandewater. The first seniors recognized were the girls team members Lydia Kennedy(Can) and Emily Pandel (M-W). Coach Boettcher thanked them for their hard work, consistency and individual and team success through the years. The senior boys included merger students from Madrid-Waddington Sean Shannon and Thomas Caferella. Coach Boettcher also had some kind remarks about them highlighting their development as athletes, their leadership, their hard work, and their consistency. It was clear that the seniors made an impact on our program and will continue to do great things as they move on! We wish them the very best of luck!
In the Girls Varsity race Grace McDonough ran to the top spot in a time of 22:54 to lead all runners on the day. Achieving the next best times were Julia Bessette in second (22:57) and then Emily Pandel in third (24:14), Lydia Kennedy in forth (26:45),Katrina Sheffield in 5th (28:45) and Delaney O’Brian in 7th (29:45). The girls team has shown steady improvement as they enter the final week of the regular season and look forward to sectionals in two Saturdays.
The boys saw an intense battle between Nick Lyndaker and Max Finley. These two boys have trained together throughout the pandemic and have logged hundreds of miles between them. Nick has managed to edge Max on every other occasion this year…….. until Saturday. The amount of discomfort which each boy looked to be managing was obvious as they crossed the finish line! Max was able to outkick his training partner by running a personal best 17:33 over the 5K or 3.1 mile course, collapsing to the turf upon the finish. Lyndaker was literally one second behind Max and running a 17:34. Given the fact that both of these athletes are in their junior season, the future is looking bright for the Bears. They also find themselves in the top two spots on the Section leaderboard with two weeks remaining in the season.
The other members of the boys team looked equally impressive. Sean Shannon (3rd), who is the favorite to win the 800 meter dash this indoor and spring season raced to a strong 18:38 finish for third place. As was mentioned previously, the future is looking bright for the Bears as 8th grader Daniel Creurer(4th) is very close to breaking the twenty minute plateau with a time of 20:31 finishing in 4th place to all runners. Fifth place belonged to Brendan Nolan in a 21:08, 8th place belonged to Thomas Cafarella, 9th to Leif Goldie in 22:54 and the other Canton 8th grader Charlie Todd ran a personal best on his home course in a time of 22:56.
The teams finish up the regular season this coming Saturday, November 7 at the Bridge and Port Authority in Ogdensburg. Modified races begin at 9:00 am.