Broadalbin-Perth cross country teams build toward future at sectionals

Over the past three years, the Broadalbin- Perth High School cross country program has seen plenty of changes including the graduation of several athletes who helped propel the team to the state championships. Friday afternoon, a new generation of BPHS runners took aim at reaching a higher level at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Section 2 cross country championships at Saratoga Springs State Park.

Broadalbin-Perth girls third in Class C/CC, Onzo eighth overall

Last year, three seconds was all that had separated Celina Onzo from a trip to states. She missed by one spot in the overall 2015 Class C-CC standings. Friday afternoon Onzo took her second and final shot at making it to the state championships, something no Broadalbin-Perth girl has done since 2013.

“I wish she had one more year,” Broadalbin- Perth coach Jeff Richards said of Onzo after the race. “She’s done a lot for this program, and what she’s done in two years is just amazing.”

Onzo fell short again by just one place in the overall C-CC standings. Her time of 19 minutes, 45.10 seconds was good for third in the Class CC race, and eighth overall in the girls Class C-CC standings. It was also an improvement of eight seconds from her sixth place time at the Foothills Council championships nearly two weeks ago, that was also her first race back since recovering from an injury.

“I know I left everything I had on the course,” Onzo said. “It’s a good way to end the season with my team. I couldn’t have pushed any harder. Now, I’m going to give my shin some rest and get ready for outdoor track season. I’m happy that I recovered, but I wish I could go to states.”

Dezolt’s only race of the season

Broadalbin- Perth junior Mackenzie Dezolt could only watch throughout the 2016 Foothills Council cross country season as her teammates wrapped up another undefeated season in league play and another division title. Due to injury, Dezolt hadn’t run in the required number of races to be eligible to run in the sectional meet. NYSPHSAA rules indicate that runners must compete in six races to qualify for the sectional championships. But, exceptions are made if procedures are followed.

“We had to get her a waiver for her to be able to race,” BPHS coach Jeff Richards said. “Having her back was a huge motivation.”

Dezolt was back to form and finished twelfth in the Class CC race and 21st overall with a time of 20:33.72. Her only time and best time of the season.

“It was awesome,” Dezolt said after the race. “I just wanted to run with my teammates, they’re the best. I wanted to help the seniors get to states. They are such leaders.”

The Broadalbin-Perth girls finished third in Class CC and third overall in the C-CC combined standings with 158 points. The Lady Patriots trailed only overall Class C-CC champion Cobleskill- Richmondville (143 points), and Class CC champion Schuylerville (146 points) in the team standings.

Sophomore Gabby Larsen was the next runner to cross the line after Onzo turning in a top twenty finish (16th, 20:15.18), that was also good for ninth in Class CC. Eighth grader Samantha Murphy was 41st overall with a 21:14.61 time. Senior Victoria Laurange (22:56.75), junior Gabrielle Martin (23:14.34), junior Carley Nolan (25:37.60), junior Jessie Brooks (26:51.40), junior Jordyn Deneuville (29:11.10), and senior Julie Capito (30:54.70), completed the Lady Patriots effort.

“We’ve come a long way since nineteenth at the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Invitational,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Jeff Richards said. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. We stepped up big time today.”

The 2016 Lady Patriots cross country team has had its share of ups and downs. Injuries have played a part for the majority of it. Friday’s meet marked the first time the girls team had everyone healthy.

“I wish we had one more meet,” coach Richards said. “We’re just starting to get back healthy again. If we had one more meet we’d be right up there.”

BPHS boys place seventh in CC, 12th overall in Class C

The Broadalbin-Perth boys also improved from their 19th place finish at the Burnt Hills- Ballston Lake Invitational. In fact, the first four Patriots runners to cross the finish line on Friday all improved their time from the BH- BL Invy from mid- October. BPHS finished seventh in the Class CC race, and 12th overall in the merged Class C- CC standings with 316 points.

Sophomore James Mosher was the Patriots top finisher with a time of 18:00.03, nearly 14 seconds faster than his BH- BL time. Sophomore Wyatt Couperus (18:11.49) also posted a top 40 overall finish. Sophomore Devin Becker (18:41.21), and freshman Micah Smith (19:12.14) also improved their times from the October race at Saratoga and finished among the top 100 in the largest race of the day. Twenty four teams competed in the Class C and Class CC race, but only one team took home the title for Class C-CC champion.

Patriots junior Evan Smith (19:55.14) was 114th out of 191 competitors. Freshman Jeffrey Shlomovich (20:18.33), and senior Connor Brooks (26:11.28) completed the field for the Patriots.

“Our boys team is so young,” BPHS coach Jeff Richards said. “We’re getting better and better. I can’t wait to see what we can do next year.”

Albany Academy won the overall Class C- CC title with 46 points. Greenville captured the Class C title with 68 points.

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.